DGA15.01: Red Hand of Doom Part II – the ruins of Rhest

The level 15 Vale Heroes for this session

Cat, Teulon warlock;
Phoenix, Tlinget barbarian;
Seck, Teulon rogue;
Ulric, Teulon paladin

Ably assisted by Lothair their pilot and Trellara Nightshadow their guide

The heroes begin on level 15 and end 28,500xp from level 16

A plan made in haste is still a plan

The talk about the makeshift council between Tiri Kitor elves, the Vale heroes, and newcomers Vir and Kestrel turns from general history to the more immediate situation.

“So it is for your ability as dragon slayers we welcome you,” Sellyria Starsinger, seemingly matriarch of the Tiri Kitor, finishes.

“And should we slay this black one, will the Tiri Kitor aid the vale?”

“We will vote: but, that would necessarily be agreeable.”

“Please, allow us to have some time privately to discuss plans,” Cat responds.

The four immediately concerned walk out of the hardwood hall, away beyond the tents of the people. The Tiri Kitor seem to all be dark skinned, and dark eyed, but with any shade of hair color. Their clothes are simple and dull-hued, but ornamented with minute hardwood, gemstone and bone trimmings.

The vote is for agreement and to set out at once.

Siege runners

With about an hour remaining before night, the Liberator is packed and ready. The people’s bard, Trellara Nightshadow, will be their guide. Why she and not Kestrel? Kestrel is accustomed to sneaking by foot, but Trellara knows the general layout of the ruin from the air. Leaving a certain air of unease between their guide, Kestrel, and Vir, they give the order to fly north-east.

As they have been warned, the village is under siege by Tiamat priests and monks – and detachments of the winged horrors like those they fought on Nimon Heights!

Three are near enough to challenge the ascent:

Cat blasts one three times with load vivid violet blasts;

Seck hurls Maelsauga and Trellara puts that badly injured one to sleep;

The third makes it aboard but even as it bashes the temporary hp off Ulric he and Phoenix slay it!

The Blackfens

Barely an hour passes and Lothair begins to ease the Liberator down. Trellara gestures towards the middle of a lake in the swamp, where a profusion of mainly regular shaped ruins catch the last light.

“There is the ruins of Rhest.”

“What do you know of its origin?”

“Some say it fell when the great high elf realm was corrupted into darkness; but then, some say we Tiri Kitor are evil dark elves, and we are not.”

Lothair needs to know how close he should set down. Hasty discussion!

At least a minute goes by and Lothair calls for a decision.

“Set us down NOW!”

The Liberator sogs down alongside a channel in the mire, the presence of which has the effect of leaving dry trails amidst the foul thorn-infested pools. As the heroes help camouflage their craft the last light disappears and Cat is the only one that can track forward with any confidence.

Village under Red Hand rule

No matter how careful they are, the vicious thorns of the black dragon’s domain snick through clothing and all but the sturdiest armor. But at length, Dis, who is floating ahead, reports a lizardfolk village.

Cat creeps closer. And activates his Visions of Distant Realms! Between that view and Dis, he learns that the lizardfolk village is on the lakeside, and is guarded by hobgoblins! But it’s a small village – a speed-run through will reach the village’s rafts before much opposition can build.

With everyone minimally briefed, Seck and Phoenix take off at full pace, and leave the others in the dust! Cat follows speedily, Trellara next, and finally and with much clanking, Ulric.

The hobgoblin sentry on a watchtower at village sentry is alert, and hurls a couple of javelins. But all others have dossed down for the night and are slow to emerge! As Ulric throws back a couple of hobgoblins and he and Trellara take a bad knock, they hurl themselves onto the rafts that Phoenix and Seck have untied and splash into the lake!

The bell-tower

Out on the dismal lake, the light is better. The gloom of early night allows Phoenix to see at least the general outlines of ruins ahead. One stands out – obviously once a tower, and seemingly still carrying a bell… and a hobgoblin guard!

“If only we had access to a powerful illusion, and could look like lizardfolk,” Trellara hints

Cat pulls Seeming out of his bag of tricks. Momentarily everyone is deeply confused but he explains what’s going on. They move towards the lookout.

The challenge comes across the water, in common.

Phoenix replies, also in common but using his knowledge of draconic to flavor the accent. He’s convincing, but his excuse of wishing to fish earns a curt nay:

“Be off! Go fish somewhere else!”

Since they have decided not to take prisoners and just slip by, this is fine by the raft-bound. They back off and make a wide circle around to the other side, and then on… into trouble!

A croc o’ trouble

What’s more trouble for folks poling rafts across a lake than a giant croc? Why, three giants crocs! And as two crocs batter Ulric Trellara and Seck into the water, and Cat and Phoenix ward off the third, the session ends!

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