At the end of last session, we left our heroes resting in the village of Roake after a disastrous delve into the caverns below Clear Pool. It now seemed clear that the dangers of caverns and the sinister subterranean lake were too much for the adventurers and their thoughts thus turned to traveling onwards to Tumbledown to aid Hemgor in his quest to claim the fief as a reward for saving Oreal’s life.
Thus, a day or so later the party set out. Several old friends (Krorz, Adoven and Oreal) accompanied Hemgor on his quest while the group was joined by a new companion: Squinty Hrzog – a half-orc recently arrived from the Bone March wherein she had fled from her birth tribe. The party’s first day of travel was uneventful, but on the second day as they neared Tumbledown their travel came to a sudden halt when they discovered a bridge crossing a river had recently collapsed. As the party, discussed how to cross the river, Squinty noticed the suspicious absence of any wildlife in the vicinity of the bridge.
Suspecting that undead may lurk in the vicinity, Adoven moved forward to investigate the bridge. His suspicions were immediately confirmed when the ghostly figure of a corpulent man rose from the bridge. One side of the man’s body was crushed and broken. Immediately the man hurled a ghostly ball of fire at the party – catching Krorz and several others – and battle was joined! As Oreal shot arrows at the ghost, several other members of the party manoeuvred. Sadly, the ghost caught Adoven and Squinty in a bank of noxious fog and although Squinty managed to resist the effects Adoven was not so lucky. Another ball of fire badly injured Oreal but by now the archer’s deadly accuracy was beginning to tell on the party’s assailant. Driven mad by anger and pain the creature rushed Oreal, but it was slain by Krorz and Squinty before it could destroy the pesky archer.
Recovering from their ordeal, the party decided to search the vicinity for the ghost’s body – Hemgor in particular was keen to lay the poor unfortunate’s soul to rest. After much searching they located his body in the river, crushed beneath some of the bridge’s stone. Hauling the body onto the bank the party searched him for any signs of his identity. They found none, but did recover an iron wand, a magical ring and a very sodden, useless spellbook. With nothing else to be done, the party buried the body, forded the river and continued on their way.
The balance of their journey was without incident and they reached Tumbledown late in the day. The “village” was really nothing more than a very spread out collection of houses. There was no inn and no places of business. However, it seemed they were expected and were quickly led to Lady Tumbledown’s house. Here, the party discovered that their arrival was rather propitious. It seemed that just the night before the previous Lord Tumbledown – thought dead these three years in a terrible fire that consumed the manor house – returned in the night and stole one of his twins from his supposed widow! Lady Tumbledown was inconsolable with fear as to her daughter’s fate as her husband had promised to feed her to his god!
Of course, Hemgor immediately volunteered to rescue her missing daughter and his companions likewise agreed. They rested overnight and then sallied forth to the ruined manor house brooding on a low hilltop overlooking the village. The gardens surrounding the ruin were overgrown, but Oreal and Squinty both found signs of tracks in the area – both human and animal. Their exploration of the ground floor was largely without incident however Squinty did slay two giant centipedes and rather more surprisingly they encountered and slew a chained griffon nesting in the main hall of the place! In a nearby room they also found a couple of half-starved cows, which were no doubt intended for the griffon.
In one room, the party discovered a set of stairs leading down into the cellar and without hesitation continued their exploration. They came into a large room divided by a curtain. A ruined bookcase lay on the floor and as Squinty investigated, part of the curtain began to move. Before anyone could react, a blast of sonic energy swept over much of the group – both Hemgor and Oreal were terrified by this and turned to flee, but Adoven fortuitously used his cleric powers to remove their terror. The creature seemed cloaked in shadow, but luckily several of the group had fought a cloaker before and although several more fell victim to its terrible sonic attacks it was eventually slain…