Grand Duchy 27

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 27
August 12, 2014

An Ancient Mystery

Soladian 10th of Flaurmont

A Perfect Day for a Journey

What beautiful weather were having!
The weather was absolutely perfect as the Grey Company and their new Elf companions set out from Susikyn. The plan was to follow the path to Hokol, then the Cherkass, then north along the trail and across the grasslands to the edge of the hills, hoping to approach the Werewolf lair from the west, which was suggested by the Fairy King of Horses. The journey was perfect and the Company made it all the way to the hills before night fall and were able to secure a perfect camping site. It was estimated that it would take half of a day to reach the werewolves area so the next day would be spent carefully approaching, looking for a suitable site to camp and hide the horses and hopefully scouting the lair to get a better strategy for attacking the beasts.

Lunadain 11th of Flaurmont

The next day was nice, the sky was clear, there was a breeze, but as the sun rose, the temperature continued to rise and even before camp was broken, people were sweating. It was hotter than it had been all year. The plan was for the group to spread out a bit, watching for signs of wolves and hoping to find the best approach. The Elves took to the hills, ranging through the more difficult terrain. Akaios, Burik, Ree and Remar kept more to the south, moving across the grasslands and Draven, Marcel, Iris and Griffin focused their route on the area where the hills meet the plains. They moved slowly, foraging and hunting as they went, often checking in with each other. The morning produced no results, but just before noon, Griffin spied something up ahead worth checking out.

The Mysterious Mound

A large mound, clearly purposefully constructed, rested near the base of a tall escarpment the group had been following for some time. The mound was about 30 feet high and topped with what looked like a ring of standing stones. Iris became immediately excited by this find and exclaimed that it was no doubt an ancient Traldar religious site. The sounds of rushing water could be heard somewhere nearby and a faint wisps of dark smoke, steam and vapors could be seen coming from the far side of the mound. 

Griffin immediately moved up and started climbing the nearby rocky cliff face, hoping to get a better view of the area from the top of the high rocks. Draven, Marcel and Iris went up the wide ramp leading to the top of the mound to get a better look. Marcel spied some sort of pit or pool on the far side and walked around the standing stones to investigate. Iris began carefully inspecting the surface of the stones themselves, looking for more specific clues as to the function, date or construction of the site. Draven wanted to examine the source of the misty vapors, which seemed to be coming from a dark rift on the other side of the mound. He crossed through the center of the circle of stones. 

A very interesting site is discovered.
Upon stepping into the middle of the ring, he immediately felt a change. Everything around him felt suddenly calmer. No, that wasn't it. Everything had become quieter; silent in fact. He turned and could see Iris but could not hear her. He could not hear the nearby sound of water, could not hear the birds, could not hear the wind. He spoke a prayer out-loud and found that he could hear himself, but it sounded as if he were talking through a blanket, muffled and quiet. 

He stepped back out of the circle and described what had happened to Iris. Intrigued, she joined him in the circle and experienced the same thing. They found that they could converse with each other, but their voices sounded small and distant, even though they were standing next to each other. 

This confirmed to Iris that this was some sort of ancient holy site of the Traldar, the ancient people of this land that the Traladarans were descended from. She continued to examine the stones and ring and estimated that the construction was from the Traldar Golden Age, possibly 2000 years old, maybe even before the time of the the great King Halav.

From atop the high cliff, Griffin had a good view of the area. He could now see the source of the water sounds: a waterfall of several flows of water were rushing out of cracks in the nearby cliff wall, hidden by an outcropping and the mound itself. A small stream could be seen winding around past the far side of the mound. He got a better look at the fissure on the far side of the mound where the dark mists were coming from. Past the mound, he could see what looked like the ruins of some ancient buildings and the remnants of a road that stretched to the east along the base of the escarpment.

Marcel found the pit to be shallow, only about 6 or so feet deep. The sides were lined with close fitting stones and the bottom appeared to be dry, cracked earth, though very smooth. He decided to hop down into it to check it out more closely and in the process discovered a bucket hidden in some tall grass nearby. Inside the bucket was a clay pipe with some relatively recent pipe-weed in it. Intrigued, he immediately begins searching the area and finds some fairly recent tracks of what appears to be bare human feet. The tracks are centered between the pit and the remains of a stone path leading to some stairs that go down this side of the mound. 
The bottom of the pit.

After scouting the area as good as he can, Griffin decides to climb back down to join his friends in their investigation of this strange place. He nearly falls from about 20 feet up but luckily manages to catch himself before doing so.

Iris spends some time searching the near side of the mound area for tracks, but only manages to waste a bunch of time following her own footprints around. Meanwhile, Draven checks out the dark fissure that is releasing the dark gasses. As he approaches, he hears occasional sizzling and feels the temperature rise even more. Being right next to the fissure is nearly unbearable due to the heat and noxious stench of the gasses escaping from it. Though he cannot see directly down into it, he senses a red glow, like that of molten lava or very high heat. Immediately Draven proclaims this to be the "entrance to the very depths of hell!" He climbs down the cliff-side to try to get a closer view and is distracted by a curious pool of water formed by the small stream that circles the mound. It pools down below, near where the dark fissure starts in the side of the mound and he assumes that some water is getting in there from the sizzling and occasional cloud of steam that comes out of the fissure. The pool is interesting though, as it is crystal clear, revealing the smooth, flat stone bottom and many tiny bubbles floating to the surface. A misty vapor swirls across the top of this pool and distracts him with nearly hypnotic patterns. At the far end of the pool, the water escapes over several short drops and then continues on as a narrow stream, snaking away into the grasslands.

Griffin moves around the mound and checks out the waterfall, hoping to find some sort of hidden cave or fissure behind it. Unfortunately he only finds the waterfall and a narrow splash pool below. Going for a better look, he steps through the pool and realizes that what he thought were rocks and gravel at the bottom are in fact piles of old, nearly decomposed bones. Quite a few bones. From a quick look, they appear to be Human or at least something close and there appears to be several sets of bones. He quickly retreats and to share his findings with the others.

Iris then joins Marcel and they both descend the stairs and examine the remains of the building foundation that was spied from the top of the mound. It looks to have been a fairly large building, though not much remains to give any more immediate clues. Iris is sure that with enough time and the proper tools, she could uncover much more about this building and site. Marcel notes quite a bit of a similar growing plant around the inside and outside edges of the foundation, and in one corner, he sees a small pile of carefully cut and stacked parts of these plants, as if someone had been gardening, in fact, they are still quite green, implying that they had been cut recently.
freshly cut

As Griffin and Draven join their companions on the far side of the mound, a small cave opening is notices in the cliff wall nearby. It had not been visible earlier due to an outcropping of rock and the angle of vision. Everyone moved to check it out closer. The cave opening is quite narrow and only about 5 feet high. Curious to see where it goes, Griffin leads the way in. He easily squeezes himself in, though Draven and Marcel both get stuck, their chain armor catching and making it nearly impossible to squeeze in. As they back out, Iris slinks in, following Griffin. Draven quickly sheds his armor and removes his shield and pack, following the others in.

Though it is quite dark inside though Draven holds his glowing holy symbol up, shedding some light on the subject. The floor is smooth dirt, well worn and the walls of this narrow passage are lined with hundreds upon hundreds of bundles of what appear to be the same plant that was growing outside. The ones at the front of the tunnel are a little fresher while the ones farther back are much drier. The tunnel leads in about 25 feet then stops. 

Nice hair!
Outside, Marcel finally decides to remove his armor and follow his friends. He makes it just barely into the passage when they come pushing back out. Perturbed, he backs out, allowing them to exit the cave. As they tell him what they found, a voice calls out from behind them, "Hey, what are you doing in my storehouse!"

A little further down the cliff face, a Human rises up out of some bushes. He initially appears to be naked but quickly it is revealed that he is wearing dirty ratty pants. The man is barefoot and surprisingly clean. His dark hair is long and unkempt, but plastered back on his head by some unknown substance. He marches toward the group, shaking his head and mumbling something to himself. Eager to make a new friend, Marcel walks toward him.

Continued on GDA28 - The Keeper of the Circle

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe and currently in NPC mode. 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM

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