The Peering Eye

Overview

The story of a motley band of nobles and lowborn adventurers, daring to take on The Fallen in a heroic, if often mismanaged, attempt to save the very nature of life itself.

If they happen to get rich, famous or drunk in the meantime, then that is their destiny. But one of their number has a far greater destiny that seeks to hunt him down.

Chapter 1 - Eaglesbluff Castle

Five nobles are invited to a banquet in Castle Eaglesbluff, in the Duchy of Cartulus.
They are members of each noble family there to witness the signing of a agreement between rival houses.
In Bigany tradition a contract signed by all five noble families is binding by the crown.
The noble holding the banquet is Earl Altarius Kinnett II a jovial flamboyant host with dark secrets.
He wears a gaudy eagle shaped medallion and an elegant jewelled headband with a large opal in the shape of an eye.

The castle is perched on a cliff high in the mountains and has stunning views.
The Earls guards have crude cloth parchutes that they use to reduce the fatalities from falling from the top of the castle.
Lord Knicklepump Mome is so excited by this that he decides to test them. But he jumps off the castle parapet without a one and has to be rescued by the guards.

Altarius sends them wyrmling hunting with his guards on giant eagles. There are several deaths.
They grow suspicious of Altarius and his factor Islington Mome. As they investigate they uncover several secrets.

At the banquet following the signing goblins attack the castle. The heroes defeat them and realise that the goblins were let into the castle.
They confront Altarius and Islington who drop them into a trap chamber full of zombies.
They fight their way out and flee from Altarius who is a powerful Skill wielder and Islington who is a priest of Cealg.
They steal his stone eagle spelljamming ship which was disguised as the top of the castle and fly away.

Chapter 2 - First Flight of The Telson

Chapter 2 - First Flight of The Telson

As they flee several of his guards are catapulted onto the ship after them and they are attacked by more wyrmlings.
The accidental crew discuss what to do next.
The wizard piloting the ship is unable to stop it from setting it down in a cave with slavers.
They kill them all and Armand supervises taking all of their cargo.

They journey to Vercelone where Lady Almudena Vec and The Church use their influence to have the Eagleship put under Donatello Rex Guinea Vec's command.
Knicklepump Mome is appointed mandatory Chaplin and charged with assisting the druid Armand with a joint mission for the Inquisition.

Armand brings his wyrmling parts collection to a craftsman to have a suit of dragon leather armor made.
Captain Donatello Rex Guinea 'Scorpion' Vec renames the ship 'The Telson' and Aisenis notes this.

They fly to Sangreluna and the clouds above the forest transform into the form of a bear.
The Dwellers instruct Armand:


Unknown Fallen agents have eradicated a life form from existance using a powerful ritual.
You must travel amongst the stars and find the resonance it has within The Jewel.
This is no mere philosophy. Find the mark it has left.
Find it's soul in other plants and breed it anew.

Chapter 3 - Skyport

They travel to Skyport where they learn more about their mission from The Church Naval Commander Horatio Ryecatcher III (Mome). The Church are calling what happened 'The Sheppard's Light Incident'.
Armand and Bear go to see Deorm Tusk, Druid of Skyport to discuss his mission and seek advice on where they might begin their search.
Deorm Tusk sneers a little at their concern with plants until they mention Sangreluna's involvement. Then he takes them much more seriously and he suggests finding out how and where the Fallen managed this sphere wide annihilation of a life form. He worries that if they are not stopped animals will ultimately be targeted. He speculates that a religious ritual was performed with massive sacrifices to Feo. For that, many people would be required. He suggests looking at isolated settlements or at slavers.
He notes that there are suspected pirates, smugglers and slavers currently docked at Skyport aboard a squid ship called Cogitophage. They tried to purchase poison from Tusk but he refused their custom.

Armand and Captain Scorpion skilfully interrogate a Black Heart crewman and get him to let slip his ship's destination.

Since Commander Ryecatcher wants Sandobar covertly watched from a distance, Knicklepump invites himself aboard Sandobar’s ship, drinks brandy and smokes cigars with him and pretends to be a merchant.
Knicklepump does not fool Sandobar Corleone one bit. It is possibly the poorest and most obvious acting of the decade.
He escapes Sandobar's ambush on The Black Heart by being launched from a jettison, thanks to Lady Maris's bow and Kismet's exceedingly clever use of magic. He steals Sandobar's crystal brandy decanter.

They are detained by the Church Navy for violating several port restrictions and for their own safety. They are boarded by VSS Valliant’s Captain Anders Hindenburg.
The Black Heart flees Skyport being pursued guns blazing by VSS Indomitable. Knicklepump is informed via the scroll by The Inquisition that the "VSS Intrepid under Captain Georg Falkenheim will deal with The Black Heart."

They proceed to Skelton’s Hope based on the intelligence acquired by Armand and Scorpion.
A ship named 'The Slaughter' full of hobgoblin marines intercepts them en route, they are boarded and a ferocious battle ensues.
They barely survive but there is plenty of booty. The logs reveal that the ship was sent after them by Sandobar.
It was tracking them using a crystal decanter Knicklepump robbed from The Black Heart.
They all participate in a Éirleach ritual to gain the key to Warlord Braxis’ strongbox. They are all marked with a symbol of power by the ritual.
His cargo is almost entirely illegal, including slaves and these are given to the Church
Commander Ryecatcher agrees to provide a crew of ten raw recruit marines.

Chapter 4 - Skelton's Hope

Skelton's Hope is a town on a lawless asteroid, surrounded by farmland. The underside of the asteroid has a ziggurat peaking out of a lush jungle.
There are six ships in port, two hammerships, a squidship, a galleon, a scorpion, a well armed tradesman and a mosquito made of solid gold and covered in angry glowing runes. The hammerships are both painted black and have glowing skulls all around the deck.

When they arrive at Skelton’s hope, the Captain decides to be cautious and avoid the docks. They attempt to land in the forbidden zone of the asteroid. Several powerful lightning strikes hit both the crew and the ship is badly damaged and has to retreat. Feeling dashing, Captain Scorpion orders the party to leap out of the ship while two hundred feet in the air. By miracle and fluke they are not killed, but Lady Maris looses any eye.

They are attacked by twig creatures in the forest but Kismet burns them. They are unable to rest in the forest and so flee towards the farmlands. Armand turns into a giant spider to carry them over the three hundred feet tall tree barrier and into the safety of civilisation.

They hide in the cornfields and rest there, very uncomfortably, overnight. They are met by a one handed beggar called Midge as they attempt to sneak into the town. For a modest price Midge agrees to smuggle them into the town. Knicklepump ends up throwing a party in Midge’s cousin Charlotte’s Inn, The Dozing Piglet. During the storytelling portion of this party Midge reveals a lot of useful information about it's inhabitants.
He tells them of Leechcraft, The Wretched Hive, The Servants of Hyulacc, Lord Adekumbé, The Bottom Rung Gang, The Skulls, The Weapon, The Warped Needle, The Warrens and the gladiatorial pits.

They enter Skelton’s Hope through a Sandra Cheesemonger’s cheese shop where Maris buys a huge twenty six pound wheel of cheese, which cheers her up no end. Sandra takes a shine to Armand but he politely demurs.

Armand and Knicklepump visit the Church of The Moons temple near the docks. It is a modest affair but does have the ability to communicate with The Church Navy at Skyport. A woman on the docks, turns to Kismet. Her eyes start to glow. "Oh my sweet Áisnéis! It's you!" She says in an otherworldly voice. Then she turns to green liquid and collapses into a puddle. The puddle forms into a jade eye.

They visit The Wretched Hive which hangs over the edge of the asteroid that the town is perched on. It is composed of several levels, connected through ladders, ropes, rigging, stairs, banisters, holes, tunnels and doors. It requires a modicum of intelligence to find anything in the rambling maze but it is oddly much easier while intoxicated. The air is thick with oily smoke from the patrons pipes, the kindori oil lamps and blackpowder. It smells of smoke, sweat and alcohol and it is darkly lit with a flickering smoky light. There is a spacious and luxurious captain's cabin hanging over the side of the asteroid with a breath taking view of the sunrise. There they meet Leechcraft who is busy tending to the bar and to the leeches sucking on his face.

As promised, he trades valuable information with them. He tells them that one of the ships in the dock, The Warped Needle, is a Fallen ship that delivered the weapon to Lord Adekumbé. He says that Captain Sandobar Corleone was in The Wretched Hive but that after he met with some shady characters in 'The Overlook', he left for the docks. Knicklepump uses his scroll to call the church navy ship VSS Sanction, but the Fallen ship is able to defend itself long enough to escape. The Black Heart makes itself scarce too, knowing that The Telson’s crew would call upon the Navy to attack them too.

He also introduces them to a ranger called Gwen who has been instructed by The Seekers to assist Armand and Knicklepump. He sells them several of his leeches which he claims have magical powers as well as a drift globe to light their way. They also learn that the druid of Skelton’s Hope is called Seguin and that he is rumoured to guard a portal to either the feywild of Sangreluna.

He divulges that Lord Adekumbé has released the Yugoloth weapon from the barrel into the warrens and that he can exert a small amount of control over the weapon, an ever expanding aberration infection of blood, mouthers, grell, gricks and worse. He tells them that the only way into The Warrens that is still accessible since the weapon was unleashed is under Lord Adekumbé’s Head, in the tunnels controlled by his gang The Skulls, near where the gladiatorial games take place.

Chapter 5 - The Warrens

They leave through tunnels under The Wretched Hive, and search under Lord Adekumbé’s Head for the entrance to The Warrens.

There are gladiatorial fights in a chamber far below The Wretched Hive. These fights are brutal and bloody even by Torlandish standards but are rarely to the death as gladiatorial slaves of decent quality are too hard to come by in the depths of eyespace. For this reason, law breakers are often dealt with by being thrown into the pits.

Inevitably they participate in the gladiatorial matches. They fight three rounds as a group and earn over six thousand gold pieces in prize money and by betting on themselves. Lady Maris fights a Torlandish gladiator called Septemius in defence of the honour of Bigany and takes his eye as the spoils of victory. This is not part of the rules of the games but no one is of a mind to argue with the ferocious Forc Captain. Septemius is unsurprisingly furious when he awakes.
Knicklepump uses his magic to attach the eye and Maris is pleased with her new if mismatched eye. While the fights are on-going they hear that Sandobar had been there a day or two before them. Some say that he had been there that very day. It becomes apparent that agents of Sandobar had been keeping an eye on The Telson crew.

They break into the areas forbidden by Lord Adekumbé bypassing several traps and fighting both Skulls gang members and undead animated by Lord Adekumbé. They rest in The Dozing Piglet that night rather than risk their lives by spending the night in The Warrens. Armand notices that Skulls gang members are being re-animated overnight and they decide to be more careful disposing of the bodies and to press forward with more urgency to avoid the issue of re-animation. Captain Scorpion takes the pistols and black powder that the Skulls use as part of the spoils.

They fight past grey oozes dropping form the ceilings and gibbering mothers slithering along the floors. Knicklepump's armour and weapon are badly damaged as he bravely leaps into the fray. Silence is very effective against the mother’s powers. But he and Maris end up stuck in the floor and have to fight ghasts and ghouls before they are finally freed. Then they press on with Armand following the druidic signs.

In the middle of the asteroid they find the chamber containing Yugoloth bio weapon created by the Masters of Hyulacc.
They barely survive an extremely difficult fight with weird and horrifying Fallen aberrations being spewed forth by a pool of magical Athrú ooze.
During the fight Captain Scorpion is mortally wounded and falls into the ooze.
He lays there dying for much of the fight, while much blood is spilt, until revived by healing magic.

The jade eye amulet that Kismet picked up after the woman who recognised him outside The Wretched Hive and dissolved into a mess of goo, transformed yet again. This time into a green dragon. Kismet’s magic surges and goes haywire, while Captain Scorpion use his pistols to put a couple of bullets through the dragons eyes.

Chapter 6 - The Star Hammer

Armand senses a breeze in an odd part of a passage and alerts Captain Scorpion. Scorpion’s keen eye for hidden objects and his magical training help him discover a dwarven rune of a hammer. He makes it glow. Maris hits the hammer symbol with her maul and a door is revealed. Armand is inspired to shout out 'Mellon!' and the door opens to reveal a secret dwarven chamber.
In the centre of the room floats a powerful looking dwarven maul.
Six alcoves around the room hold ornate suits of dwarven armour.
Knicklepump performs a rite of combat challenge and Maris faces off against the arm or to prove to Tionscail that she has the right to wield the weapon. Armand, Knicklepump, Kismet and Scorpion all cast magic to help her in the fight. She fights alone though and she triumphs. Khazûd-Vorr The Star Hammer eagerly agrees to journey with her into the glory of fighting The Fallen.
Meanwhile Knicklepump finds and activates an Alcholem (or keg golem). He adopts it and calls it Napoleon Morgan.

They continue to fight through the caves and as they approach the underside they pass through a cavern with a mated pair of cave bears. Armand manages to befriend the particularly aggressive male and prevents them from attacking the party.

The wound from the Yugoloth pool, have continue to pain Scorpions lower back. Armand mashes goodberries into the injury to heal it. Nadúir’s healing and Áisnéis' sense of humour cause him to be blessed with a mutation, a telson of his own. The telson is intelligent and friendly and appears to be a creature of Nadúir. Armand is very suspicious of it.

Chapter 7 – Druidic Visions

At long last emerge they into the cacophony of noises, whooping monkey calls, birdsong and parrot chatter that proclaims the jungle. The sun is blistering hot, high in the clear starry sky. The thick roasted air envelopes them and their sweat starts to run almost immediately. The smell of raw nature, the swarming of insects and the bellowing of monkeys sing a song of praise to the power of Nadúir. They feel like... they are being watched.
Knicklepump says "Praise Nadúir this is splendid. Far better than that foul Athrú pit we just left..."

Animals of the jungle watch them and then lead them to Seguin Valor’heriaid a powerful and reclusive druid.

Seguin tells with Armand what he has seen in visions of 'The Sheppard’s Light Incident'.
Fallen Cultists of Feo and Éirleach chose a flower, that was called Lexis Matronia Divinia, or Shepherds Light. It was known for having a distinctive deep red or purple coloured flower and was a component of wolfsbane. Seguin believes it was selected as a deliberate threat to shapechangers, particularly Charon Werepriests and Circle of The Moon druids. The Fallen agents sought out six hybrids: jungle, desert, mountain, forest, plains and fire and used them to distil the flower's true essence. From this they crafted a poison called 'The Sheppard’s Draught'. This poison was used to kill an innocent, in a ritual where The Fallen joyfully slaughtered a thousand souls.

He tells them that the incident can be reversed but that The Balance of The Great requires that the same effort be placed into restoring the flower as went into destroying it. Seguin advises that Armand to start by acquiring six preserved vestiges of the flower and to tackle the other tasks later.
He cheerfully notes that a jungle vestige is on this very asteroid, in the heart of the jungle, in the belly of a great beast. He also notes that a Bigany noble named Donatello Vec has a plains vestige given to him by the alabaster lady.

Seguin instructs Armand to travel first to the ziggurat, then through it’s portal to the feywild asteroid that mirrors Skelton’s Hope. There he can acquire the jungle vestige from a feywild great beast. From there he must use a ritual, which Seguin teaches him, to transport himself through a pool in a marble henge to the famed 'Sangreluna'. That is where Armand received his initial vision. And his return there will complete a circle.

This leaves Armand them with several core questions: Who were The Fallen worshippers and powers that were involved? Where did the ritual happen? Who was sacrificed and where were they abducted from? How was the potion distilled? What are the circles of which Seguin speaks?

Chapter 8 – The Jungle and The Sphinx

Before they use the ziggurat to plane shift to the feywild they decide to seek the jungle vestige Seguin mentioned. Gwen can make out it’s faint traces on the wind, so they set out to find it, trusting her unerring woodland skills. Astonishingly she tracks the vestige of the flower hidden to a chunk of amber in the belly of a huge jungle beast. They easily slay the beast, known to some as a tyrannosaurus and take the amber chunk they need.

They proceed to the Skelton’s Hope ziggurat which, though it is wreathed in lightning and seething with menace, does not attack them this time. The ziggurat’s summit holds a portal which transports them to an asteroid on the feywild. On the feywild side, in place of the ziggurat, is a wide silvery pool in the middle of a marble henge.
Once he steps through the portal Armand can feel that the feywild version of the asteroid is alive with fey, nymphs, dryads, dinosaurs and a dragon. Kismet can sense that the pool is a fey nexus and allows travel to many places and Gwen can detect the faint but distinctive scent of Sheppard's Light on the breeze.
The marble henge is guarded by an Androsphinx named Androdonnis, who only allows travellers to cross to Sangreluna if they are worthy.
Androdonnis senses the importance of Armand’s mission and so asks simple riddles to ensure they can pass. They answer them with ease.

Androdonnis' riddles
I am the hole in the night, the ever watchful eye, I return in a cycle, to enlighten the sky. The moon.
If I fly to the moon in a ship and on the way I meet thirteen ships each with 66 crew who each have 6 slaves. How many in all are flying to the moon. One
I make you weak at the worst of all times. I keep you safe, I keep you fine. I make your hands sweat, and your heart grow cold, I visit the weak, but seldom the bold. Fear.

Gwen notes that four patrols of orcs are headed to the pool to attack the sphinx. Although the Sphinx can probably defend itself quite easily, they decide to intervene and the slaughter all of the orc patrols in four separate ambushes.

The toughest encounter with a patrol of all Uruk hai lead by a Chieftain and an Éirleach priest is easily won using what Kismet calls special weapons and real tactics. Kismets fireball and Maris' hammer Khazûd-Vorr being the most effective. Scorpion develops the habit of sneaking up behind his enemies and declaring 'Dodge This!' before shooting them in the head and stinging them with his telson.

They decide to rest.

Chapter 9 – The Mountain and The Dragon

They are attacked in the middle of the night while Kismet and Gwen are on guard duty. Owl bears maul Kismet and Gwen before they are rescued by Lady Maris and Armand. Captain Scorpion rolls over in bed and hearing the commotion shoots one of the owl bears in the eye before telling the others to be quiet and get back to bed. Knicklepump snorts and stays asleep.

The route to the glade high in the mountain is blocked by a forested area which is magically overgrown and smells of chlorine. They carefully navigate through the maze of bushes and brambles until they are ambushed by a Green Dragon! It is more powerful and more aggressive than the one they faced in The Warrens on Skelton’s Hope. It breathes a noxious cloud of chlorine gas on them and they are all badly injured by the fumes. But the party fights on, Maris is particularly vicious and Kismet hits it with a lightning bolt. Gwen peppers it with arrows and calls on Croí to heal Knicklepump who in turn raises a beacon of hope to heal the party including Armand. Armand sets his wolves on it and Scorpion shoots it with this signature pistol. Their tactics, skill and ability to work together has improved dramatically and they defeat the powerful creature with relative ease. It flees for it's life, leaving Kismet fuming.

They heal up and press on into the cave. They are again ambushed by the dragon who has recovered somewhat. It uses walls of thorns and other lair magic as well as it's breath weapon to attack them but is ultimately slain by another lightning bolt for Kismet after a vicious fight. Interestingly the power it holds over the jungle is far greater than it should given it’s age and size. Something else is afoot here.

When they search the body they find a jade dragon figurine. When Kismet examines it, it dissolves into his hand, travels up along his arm and appears in the middle of his forehead as a tattoo of a dragon. His other normal tattoos part to accommodate it. Shrugging this off as yet another Kismet oddity, they return to Androdonnis' pool to rest.

Eventually as they climb higher into the mountains Gwen finds the scent of the flower on an isolated ledge pressed carefully between a collection several rocks. Armand finds a mysterious set of four Druidic magical stones among these rocks. Identify reveals little of the stones, but it has divination and transmutation magic and seems to hold an earth spirit. He determines that he needs to attune to it in a druidic grove.

With the mountain vestige in hand they return to the pool, ready to face their next challenge. Armand luxuriates in the pool enjoying the restorative powers of the water. He slowly drifts in to dreams filled with Wolves, lightning and the smell of blood, many would describe it as a nightmare. Armand smiles in his sleep and Bear twitches and wags his tail.

Chapter 10 – Sangreluna

Armand casts a ritual in the Feywild silver pool, all the characters submerge themselves in the waist deep water.
They emerge in an identical pool in Sangreluna.

Kismet finds the inter planar journey jarring and so his wild surge is triggered summoning a werewolf. Unlike normal werewolves in The Peering Eye, it is feral and out of control, even though the moon is not full. Armand believes that this is the fate of any shapechangers that fail the Sangreluna Trials. The werewolf attacks Kismet who manages to fend off his bite with a quickly conjured magic shield. They slay the werewolf with relative ease but note that powerful magic or silvered weapons are required to damage werewolves.

The Great Moonstone Henge lies before them shrouded in light blue mist. It glows with an eerie blue light even though the moon is not full. Inside the circle they are met by Hern Silverclaw a hierophant who informs them that they have been allowed to participate in the trials as a group instead of the usual requirement of a single subject. He transforms into a Giant Silverback Gorilla and leaps from the Henge, a jump over forty feet high, and disappears from view.

Instantly four large Elementals are summoned and prepare to attack. Armand summons wolves to distract the elementals. The tactic works well at first and the party attacks with weapon and spell. Kismet shatters the stone elemental with thunder, Gwen finds her arrows do little damage against such magical foes. The fire elemental charges past the wolves roasting them and engulfs Maris, Kismet and Scorpion in its fire and they start to burn. The water elemental smashes the wolves and engulfs Armand, Kismet and Knicklepump and starts to crush and drown them.

Armand summons a sleet storm to extinguish the fire elemental. Maris ignores the burning and smashes the Fire elemental with The Star Hammer Khazûd-Vorr. Gwen recalls the magic arrows she found in the green dragon's lair and uses them to great effect against the water elemental. Soon the water and fire elementals are dispatched. Scorpion claims that he has slain them singlehandedly. The air elemental chases after Kismet and Armand and almost kills both of them. Armand is knocked unconscious and the air elemental eyes Kismet. Knicklepump smashes the air elemental with his spiritual weapon and his great axe and slays it. He casts a ritual of healing in the middle of the Henge and due to Nadúir and Charon’s grace all the party gain the benefit of a full night's rest.

Armand realises that their trial is not yet complete. They must spend the night in the forest. Gwen knows of an ancient elven ruin known as Querilon's Lament. She believes that it will be safer to camp there than elsewhere. She leads them in that direction.

Along the way Kismet spies a crone like figure hiding in the foliage. When she see him her eyes go wide and she shouts "You!" She appears to be filled with fear and rage. She charges at him and slashes at his face, leaving a shallow cut. They attack each other briefly and before the others can react, she flees. They try to track her but her magic is too powerful.

As they approach Querilon's Lament Kismet notices what looks like a beholder in the undergrowth. When they pause to investigate they notice that there are several of these creatures floating nearby, slowly getting closer. As the party consider what to do, three of the large objects move up to them. One of them bumps into Gwen and she is almost poisoned. Another attempts to bump into Kismet and he lashes out at it. He kills it and it explodes, the explosion is large and dangerous and kills two other creatures nearby, which also explode.

The party is covered in poison and spores. Maris, Gwen and Scorpion resist the spores, but Knicklepump, Kismet and Armand are poisoned and diseased and will die within hours. Luckily Gwen knows what the effect of the spores are and how it should be treated. Knicklepump and Armand cure the diseases afflicting them and Kismet.

Kismet feels an urge to investigate both the potential beholder and the green hag. But the druid wants to focus on their mission. Scorpion decides it is time to take command. He instructs the party in how to perform a long range sniper attack on the gas spore creatures. They execute his plan perfectly. There is a huge series of detonations and scores of gas spores exploding in a chain reaction that goes deep underground. He decides that they should scout the area for a possible beholder.

Gwen and Armand find a cave. Armand sends a flaming sphere inside and they all watch it's slow exploration with bated breath. The cavern is filled with many different fungi and millions of spores. The fungi look warped as if by the Far Realm and blighted as if by an evil presence. In their natural form they would be dangerous. The flaming sphere arrives at the back of the cave and to everyone’s surprise, plummets out of sight it's light rapidly fading as it disappears downwards. Scorpion decides that it is time to return to the mission, that the beholders and hag can be investigated later.

Gwen remembers that the ruins of Querilon's Lament are surrounded with Silverpin Trees, which drop poison needles on creatures that pass under their boughs. She scouts to find the narrowest point in the protective ring of trees. Armand cleverly summons a pack of wolves to run under the trees to cause them to rain down their venomous needles. The wolves are slain by the trees attack and the party quickly rushes in behind them before the tree can drop needles again. Lady Maris Piper is not all that fussed about running around avoiding pin needles. The saunters in with her shield raised over her head. Needles rain down upon her so hard that her shield and armour are pocked with hundreds of little holes. A few needles lodge in her skin. She has been though worse, she ignores them. She's drunk more toxins than this feeble shower. She walks though unharmed.
They camp in a courtyard of the ruin and take a well deserved rest.

Chapter 11 – The Trials

Resting in the forest when a lupine howl rings out.
The band moves to a small room in ruins to defend against the werewolves.
Five werewolves appear at the perimieter, their eyes and ears are crimson.
The are cursed by Sangreluna. They are blidingly fast.

Druid casts moonbeam and they howl in agony. They take extra damage due to the curse.
The more they push into human form the more the curse pushes them back into wolf form.
Kismet launches a fireball and triggers a wildfire surge.
Gwen uses magic arrows with deadly effect.
The wolves attack and wound Gwen.
Maris smashes them with Khazud-Vorr.

Druid position moonbeam and Kismet uses lightning bolt and Gwen kills one.
Werewolves bite Maris, Scorpion and Armand. Maris and Armand contact lycanthropy.
Maris goes down under a pile of wolf fur and claw.
Scorpion kills the last one.

The druid then notices that there is wolfsbane growing in the ruins.
Gwen finds Scourge of The Plains (an orange flower) which she uses to make a paste to coat their weapons. This allows them to damage creatures that can only be hit with magical weapons (for a time).
They mix Scorpion’s poison, moonbeam and wolfsbane to make a potion. They drink it and Maris casts off the curse, but the druid does not.

There is a crashing noise in the basement. An elf has knocked over a vase. There are three dark elves with white hair. Drow, the mortal enemies of normal elves. They are locking a big heavy door. Maris kills one, Scorpion kills another. Gwen knock one out cold with a viscious right hand blow to the chin. They lock the door and take the key.
There is a letter written in drow elvish. The elves are a long range scouting party from the underdark.

There is an eye tyrant lair with lots of minions (mycanoids). They use spores to communicate, they are not evil.
There is mention of a green hag. The door is a portal.

They return to the courtyard looking for more ingrediants. A dark winged shape flies overhead. A cry that sounds like to combination of a lion and dragon and a goat – a chimera!
Kismet casts blindness on it. Kismet wild surges and does more damage. Gwen fires a few arrows, banks upward in panic. Maris hits it with a throw hammer. The druid summons a giant eagle and Scoprion leaps onto its back. It flies after the chimera and Scorpion leaps off the eagle to kill the chimera and then he leaps onto a nearby branch, shouting ‘So What?’ He is favoured by the gods.

Scorpion scouts around on the eagles back and notices a blue skinned creature in a tree observing the courtyard. In the distant humanoid creatures with spiderlike fangs are roaming around. The blue skinned creature is called Phillen. Kismet buys two scrolls of wonder. Scorpion buys a scroll of misty step. Gwen realises that everytime she rests here she can cast misty step as a bonus action due to her conection with the forest.

After a short rest the surrounding fungi emit a dim illumination. In the distance an Ettin (a two headed giant) stamps closer with a silver axe in each hand. One head is a wolf and the other is a tiger.
Druid uses moonbeam, Kismet casts haste on Maris, Gwen releases for arrows and slays him.

Twelve spider faced humanoids approach, they fire a web at the party and Maris and the Druid are caught.
Druid summons wolves, Kismet casts fireball and the webs burn. Gwen kills two.
The ettercaps attack and poison Scorpion, the Druid, Kismet and Gwen.
Maris is slightly injured and annoyed by the ettercaps, swings wildly and kills five of them.
Scorpion kills two. Wolves kill five.
Three left. Kismet uses scorching ray and Gwen kills her last wolf and Kismets.
Maris uses haste to catch up with the last wolf and hits it with her hammer. Scorpion casts sleep.

The Telson arrivesin the sky above. The captain tells it to stand by for further orders.
A barrell is thrown over the side. They examine it and it appears to be from Vercelone.
There is a noble artisan sigil on the outside. A noble who makes weapons for the wealthy.
This barrel is password protected. The password is the name of the artisan: Earl Gerraldo Gucciani.

There are three sets of dragon leather armor.
For Kismet there is a suit of White armor embossed with Jade Green. It include a Jade Eye, even though there is no way that the Earl could have known about Kismets encounters with the Jade Eye.
For scorpion there is a red and black suit with Scorpion and Vercelone sigils.
For the druid there is a green and black suit.

Hern silver claw appears in giant gorilla form.
The last challenge is to fight him and two frost giants with lycanthropy.
Gwen hits them with poison coated arrows. Kismet uses lighning bolt. Armand summons wolves to attack. They all attack woth such ferocity that they slay a giant before it can attack.
Gwen uses the magic of Sangreluna to cause him to disappear.
The green hag has been observing and she slips back into the forest.

They return to the lightblue henge just before dawn. The floor of the henge is covered in a pool of blood several inches deep.
At the centre there is a serpent like creature (a naga) coiled around a pilar of stone with a single petal at it’s top.
This is a guardian naga and it attacks with a flame strike burning everyone but the druid and scorpion.
It apologises to them saying it was a misunderstanding. He invites them in swearing an oath of peace.
They step into the blood to talk to the serpent. It flames strikes them again and laughs.

Kismet is thrown undamaged out of the henge and this triggers a wild surge.
Maris charges in and attacks it with Khazud-Vorr but it is a strong magical creature and survives her assault.
Armand heals Gwen. Kismet casts fear on the naga. Gwen unleashed a hail of arrows.
The serpent flees form the henge. Scorpion grabs the petal and Armand summons wolves. Kismet kills is with a fireball.

Armand plucks the single petal from the pillar of bone.

Victory.

Chapter 12 – The Silent Serpents

The Telson is called by Knicklepump and they fly away from Sangreluna.
They fly to The Horn to quest for the Mountain hybrid of Lexis Matronia Divinia, or Shepherds Frost.

They are intercepted by a Church Naval vessel. Drennan McArthur, a paladin of The Church joins them.
He needs to find out more about what Sandobar Corleone, is doing where he is visiting and who he is interacting with.

Armand was an acolyte of The Golden Lotus in a monastery in the Province of Talkus in Bigany.
He is being pursued by The Silent Serpents who are lead by The Master.
They want the Golden Lotus exterminated and his is the last of their order.
The Master can sense certain people (ex members, quarry, members of certain orders, etc)
When Armand become a Druid it weakened the last strand of power holding the Golden Lotus order.
They are attacked by black robed monks with a serpent coiled around a goblins neck
The monks attack from the backs of giant eagles. They use magical torture bridles to control the eagles.
They have featherfall rings to allow them to attack without fear.
Some of The Telson’s adventuring party leap into the air to attack the monks not thinking of how to avoif certain death. Knicklepump is of course the first to leap into oblivion.
The druid manages to free some of the eagles and incites them to rebel against their masters.
The monks are defeated easily but The Master escapes.

They continue to the mountain and fight (wyrmlings?)
They land on the mounainside only to realise that they were under a powerful mind altering effect. They were in reality near the base of the mountain.
The meet a guide called Tavish MacLintock who guides them to the mountain and explains about its trials.

There are three tests that must be passed by the group, before they will be allowed to enter the moutain kingdom.
They are subjected to the test of fear. They are attacked by a Purple worm. Armand and Kismet failed the test.

Chapter 13 – The Test of Fire (Kismet)

Extract from “The Diary of The Powerful Sorceror: Kismet Wilden”

Image: Fodel fiercely faces foul frost fanged foe.

Tavish McKlintock reminds the heroes “You would do well to remember the legends if you wish to pass the tests!”, they ponder this all too briefly as they check that their winter clothes provide sufficient warmth for the icy ascent.

The heroes must cross the icy ledge
Knicklepump attempts to cross. He slips and falls but is saved by Fodel who has him tethered by a rope.
Knickelpump dangles over a drop to certain death.

We must think about how to cross the ledge.
Scorpion attempts to cross by stabbing daggers into the ice
Armand changes into giant spider, attempts to cross….
He crosses without any problem with Spider Climb ability
The spider lays silk ropes for the other characters to hold on to, everyone crosses ok!

A passage has been artistically carved through a great spur of a mountain on a gargantuan scale. 
The temperature which had been quite cold becomes warmer and warmer until it is almost unbearable.
It is warm and primarily constructed of magically reinforced ice.

Starts to get hot so we remove our furs.
Kismet touches the hot wall of the tunnel to find out the reason for the heat, it is tunnelled throught a magma chamber by psionic power.

There is an open entrance. Above it is writing in Giant. Kismet uses a magic ritual to understand it:
‘The Diamond Halls: East Wing’
Captain Scorpion decides we should proceed - after checking for traps!
The entrance is trapped.

Fodel inspects the arcane writings on the floor to determine how to pass the entrance in the right arcane formation.
Knickelpump will attempt to cross the breach… walks in… sees something: “ omg what is that??’

Fodel goes next to navigate the entrance… makes it
Scorpion is next… makes it
Armand… makes it

There is a chamber full of DIAMONDS!!!

Remorhaz are also here in numbers… time to fight
Crit from Knickelpump to start with battle axe
Armand is attacked critically
Scorpion decides we should do tactical withdrawal
Maris enters the corridor and joins attack, success, bloodies one of the Remorhaz
Kismet and Fodel realise that the creatures are immune to both fire and ice
Gwen looses 4 arrows, hits x 2
Kismet fires a chromatic orb of acid
The rest of the party enter the chamber
Scorpion does sneak attack and kills one! 5 to go

Knickelpump is attacked… ouch! He’s down…. or is he?? He makes it! Lives to pump another day
Lady Maris attacks… almost finishes one creature
Knickelpump heals Armand and uses Spiritual Weapon
Armand withdraws
Scorpion does sneak attack with bow… kills one! Shoots a victory shot into the wall (miss!!)
Fodel attacks… crit!! Uses precision, bloodies one! Action surge…
Gwen shoots a few arrows… aims for the bloodied one…. fills it full of arrows… kill!!

Kismet casts stinking cloud - he bends time to cast the spell seemingly before the remoras have actually finished their turn!
Armand summons his wolves who proceed to maul the remoraz - it is knocked over and almost fatally wounded…
Scorpion uses mage hand to administer a potion to Knickelpump… who was down since the last attack, he considers getting out of there… he gets out to the corridor
Fodel and Gwen loose some arrows and deal more damage, the area is heavily obscured so their shots are not as accurate!
One the creatures is retching and reeling from the stinking cloud so can’t do anything, the other has disadvantage imposed by Fodel
Lady Maris attacks… bloodies the creature after first hot… follows up who crit! Wow those dice ALWAYS roll sixes! Almost kills it, nay on narger She takes fire damage but she’s ok

Knickelpump attempts to finish it with Spiritual Weapon, miss,  just impacted on the surface. Channel Divinity…. a hit and a kill! He takes fire damage when he attacks it and is down again, a brave fighter, he takes one for the team!
Armand’s wolves attack the remaining creature
Armand attacks, miss but Kismet bends his luck, the arrow ricochets and hits the creature!
Fodel administers a potion to Knickelpump

Kismet drops the stinking cloud and shoots an acid orb
Gwen looses her arrows!
The last remaining creature moves to arrack
Scorpion uses his readied action to do sneak attack, bloodies the creature
The creature attacks but misses wildly and provokes… KILLED! Combat over.

Knickelmpump wants to Spare The Dying, some argue with him but don’t stop him from doing it so he saves them from actual death.

Scorpion secretly considers stealing some diamonds but thinks better of it, perhaps it’s not a wise move under the nose of the giants!

Footsteps of a very large creature are heard on the other side of the door in the chamber… the characters discern the source of the footsteps… a frost giant of course!

Kickelpump goes to open the door

A brightly illuminated hallway is behind, two frost giants are there, one with a large lute, the other with a flute, softly playing and pacing back and forth. There is a giant sized velvet rope between the party and the giants. The giants turn and look confusedly at the party. Just then Tavish turns up and measures the giants. Looks like the party took a wrong turn! Tavish beckons the characters to follow him and they go back to the main passageway. Tavish scans the party for diamonds… who fortunately are found not to have stolen any… phew!

They travel for the rest of the day up the tunnel and come to a village at the end. Many different races are living here. It is dark now so the party decide to rest… on second thought they decide go for a drink to The Tavern of Ice and Fire.

The proprietor welcomes them serves them ales. It is poorly decorated and the beer is watery. He complains of a ‘schism’, apparently a feud of some sort between the frost giants, some of whom are not behaving in their usual protective manner and instead are demanding bloodletting from the villagers. The party wonder what is making the giants behave like this. The bar keep tells of someone coming to help… that’ll be us!

Now to formulate a plan

Knickelpump suggests that they could be cursed, they explore their religious knowledge and realise that they are cursed because their own blood drinking actions.

They decide to try and isolate one cursed giant and see if they can cure him of the curse. Maybe an Enlarge spell would level the playing field?? There is one giant, ‘Fat Bill’, who they might single out as he is known to be on his own at certain times…