Pinnock's Glen

The Hole and the Hunter

Following the work done for Elgar the Crack Team headed back to Pinnock’s Glen to try and dig up some information about the artifacts as well as something else about the Hole in the Forest. Jehn spoke with Thomas’ mother and found out that the hole did indeed exist in an area of the forest that no one dared visit. In turn Aura visited Pyke Moonshadow and found that he was once again less than willing to help. Aura then turned to Feargus to check his knowledge of the artifacts. He was unable to give any concrete information but was able to contact others within the church to send some history books to Pinnock’s Glen.

Late afternoon found the team sitting in Rabor’s tavern having lunch. They began to formulate a plan to investigate the Hole in the Forest. It was then that a man came in and approached Aura with a small package. He had found it, along with a note, on his doorstep. The note instructed him to deliver it to the woman that had been staying in Pinnock’s Glen. Aura opened the package after the man had been dismissed inside there was another note and a crystal of deep purple. The note was written by Pyke Moonshadow and explained that the stone was a teleportation crystal and that it would return the users to a place that was familiar to them. He also explained that she would not be receiving any more of his help and that she needed to leave him alone.

Preparations where made and that afternoon the team headed for the Hole in the Forest. The woods began to get eerily quiet as the approached the area where the hole resided and soon all trace of animal activity was gone. The hole was spotted for quite a distance, it was a large area that was dark and seemed to not allow light to penetrate it. It grew cold the closer they came and from a few paces away the hole looked to be some kind of small burrow that went beneath the forest. A sunrod was struck and the team headed, on hands and knees, into the cramped space.

The tunnel descended into the earth before leveling out and then rising once again into a long corridor that was covered with frescoes and mosaics. Unsure what to make of the area the team headed inside to investigate one of the many scenes depicted on the wall. One in particular has a small chest that jutted out from the wall. The chest opened from the bottom and and inside was a lever. Osler moved the lever and to his horror the floor dropped out from beneath him. Kel, Aura, and Osler were plunged down towards a forest of spikes. No one was seriously injured and Jehn was able to help them back to corridor. That was when Kel noticed that the mosaics formed a message in the hallway. Kel then passed along some of this information to the others and soon they all were on edge as the message was foreboding to say the least. Faced with the choice of passing through a misty arch or the mouth of a demon they came to the decision that they were not prepared for what may lie ahead. They left the corridor and headed back through the tunnel back to Pinnock’s Glen.

The next morning a call was sent to them from the town square a hunter from the village had been attacked and the team was asked to investigate. The hunter was able to explain that he had been in the middle of field dressing a deer on a trail north of the village when he was attacked by a large cat of some kind. He gave them the location and the team set out at once.

They found the trail with little difficulty and the deer was still there though it looked to have been fed upon by animals. Approaching the carcass cautiously they investigated the scene it was then that one of the cats jumped from a tree over head and attacked the adventurers. It was slain easily but before it fell a second cat lunged from another nearby tree and set upon Jehn quickly. This cat proved to be more of a challenge but was still defeated without much trouble. The animals were definitely cats and nocturnal ones at that. They showed no signs of being under any kind of enchantment. Their tracks proved to tough to follow and as such the adventurers returned to Pinnock’s Glen to ponder their next move.

Night fell and their meal was interrupted by the sound of a horn that sounded like a hunting horn. It was sounding from somewhere north of the village and the Crack Team assembled at once to investigate. The horn continued to sound and was easy to track to the source, standing in a clearing bathed in moonlight was a hunter carrying a large axe. The hunter bellowed a challenge to the team and soon a fierce battle was waged.

The hunter weaved among the adventurers attacking and falling back to keep out of range of their weapons. The hunter had also used a spell of some kind to use the vegetation to hinder the advance of the adventurers. During the fight the hunter would taunt the team as easy prey and praise them when they seemed to get the better of him. The battle was fierce but when the dust settled the hunter lay slain in the middle of the clearing.

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Odd Jobs

Elagr’s proposition was simple. He knew of a few artifacts that had been found by one of his colleagues they were being transported via river to a town called Drake on the coast of a land locked sea. Elgar had heard that something had happened to the boat on which they traveled and hoped you would investigate. He was concerned that the artifacts may be lost to time if something unfortunate had happened to his colleague. He asked that you head to a place call Ferryman’s Haven and look for the boat he was traveling on and insure the artifacts were safe with his colleague or returned to him at the tavern.

Having told Elgar that they would accept the job the team headed back to Pinnock’s Glen where they were expected to attend a council meeting. The meeting was already started when they arrived and once again there was a argument over whether or not the Crack Team should stay to help protect the village. The sides remained the same as before but the recent attack on the Winton farm had added much needed ammunition in favor of the adventurers. When the dust settled Kel had agreed to help out the village and in return the group would be given room and board as well as a retainer of ten gold a week. A handsome sum for such a small village. In return the Crack Team would touch base with the village every four days and accept jobs as the village needed.

With the matter of Pinnock’s Glen settled the adventurers headed back to the May Ley to head towards the Pilanne River The journey was short, especially using the horses from the tavern, and soon the adventurers found themselves staring at what amounted to a rickety dock and sinking tavern seated at the edge of an enormous river. A large boat could be seen at anchor a good distance from the rivers edge. The tavern was filled with sailors one of whom stood out as the possible captain of the boat in question. Kel introduced the group to the capatin, a man named Glebbins, and found out that indeed they crewed the boat that was carrying Elgar’s colleague. They had been attacked by a group of hobgoblins who were using goblin soldiers. Many of the captains men died but the majority were able to flee the boat. The captain himself had sabotaged the anchor capstan effectively stopping the hobgoblins from absconding with the boat.

The captain was eager to regain his ship and gave the Crack Team all the information he had on the attackers. Their force had grown over night when a large humanoid creature was seen climbing onto the ships deck by a lookout. Glebbins also informed them that the man in question had been below decks when the attacked occurred and was unsure of his fate. Lastly Glebbins showed them a boat with which they could mount their attack.

Under cover of the fog the Crack Team made their way towards the boat. They were able to make out a few hobgoblins on deck. The rowboat was able to get close to the ship without being noticed that was until Jehn and Kel decided to ditch the rowboat in an effort to swim for the ship. Arrows began to rain down on the boat as Aura and Osler also abandoned the ship just as a flaming arrow set the boat ablaze. Moments later the team had reached the deck and started a deadly battle with the hobgoblins and goblins that were on watch. More hobgoblins flooded onto the deck with thier leader following shortly there after.

The Crack Team was getting the better of the goblinoids when their leader called something in a strange tongue. The captains quarters burst and a large creature ran to even the odds. The ogre was able to only slow down the advance and he perished along with the hobgoblin leader under the might of the adventurers. The ship was searched and down in the hold was a gruesome sight. The bodies of Elgar’s colleague, along with his assisstant, were found apparently killed by the hobgoblins. Though the room was in disarray the artifacts were retrieved along with the the man’s monocle, a treasure that Elgar had informed them of.

Another rowboat was prepared and a short trip saw them back at the tavern in Ferryman’s Haven. Captain Glebbins was overjoyed that his boat was now free and undamaged and he pledged to repay them with passage if the time came that they required it. Now with the artifacts in tow they headed back towards the May Ley.

Reaching the tavern they once again met with Elgar. He was sorry to hear about his colleague and turned the conversation to the artifacts in question. A ancient piece of flint in the shape of a crude axe as well as a leather sling. Elgar explained that the items had long histories and that there was more to them than met the eye. He urged the adventurers to hold onto them and find out what they could and return to him with the information in the future. He also gave them his word that he would have more work for them if they desired.

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Melee at the May Ley

The Crack Team headed to investigate the May Ley Tavern as they had a few hours before the council would convene. They found the tavern to be a very strange place indeed, it was adorned with numerous antiques and the clientele ran the gamut of races. A very strange dog was settled by a large fireplace and two serving girls took orders but never seemed to serve as the trays served themselves. The bartender was odd indeed he spoke but his lips never seemed to move. The group filed in and each found something to occupy them Aura was interested in a few scrolls that were placed on the walls, Jehn took a liking to a well made rapier that hung on the wall, while Kel and Osler bellied up to the bar. The bartender, a man named Elgar, told them about the bars and its quirks. Explaining that the bar rested on a ley line that was attuned to conjuration magic.

Kel ordered drinks for the bar, which in hindsight may have been a mistake. Two humans sitting nearby a group of Orcs began to argue. One man accused the other of giving away information about some unnamed object and it came to blows. Kel having gone to intervene got caught off guard and was pushed into the orcs and soon a full on brawl had begun. Jehn and Kel jumped in with earnest while the others tried to stay neutral. Elgar watched with gusto almost giving commentary on the fight. The bartender took particular interest in feats of strength and complimented Kel on a bull rush he performed on one of the orcs.

Both humans were subdued and when the leader of the Orcs was felled the others sheepishly left the tavern. Elgar turned to the Crack Team and offered them a job and wondered if they had a moment to hear him out.

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A Village Saved is Gold Earned

The Crack Team made haste to follow the spider; scaling the palisade wall and tromping into the swamp to track the hideous creature. Clearing the swamp there was no sign of the spider and so they pressed on to Pinnock’s Glen. On the road not far from the small village they passed a tavern called the May Ley. Jehn was in favor of using the horses hitched by the tavern to hasten their travel but his protestations were struck down by the other three. They set off at once remembering to visit the tavern at a later date. They reached Pinnock’s Glen after the sun had set and darkness has taken over the village.

Kel quickly headed to Vari’s home to awaken the constable while Osler head to the church leaving Aura and Jehn. to watch over the village for any sign of the spider. When the constable had been informed of the dire situation he tasked Kel with going to the church to ring the bell to awaken those sleeping. Kel went at once to the church while Vari went to rouse the villagers. Still there was no sign of the spider or his strange companions.

Inside the church Osler had awoken Feargus and explained the situation to the priest in oder to have the church readied for the villagers. Kel arrived shortly thereafter and asked for the location of the bell to which he was met with mirth even in this dire hour. Looking above Kel found the bell had only a short bit of rope and the hand holds leading to it seemed to be of little help. A test of skill and strength awaited the leader of the Crack Team he was tested to his limits but finally overcame the cruel joke and was able to ring the bell.

Outside the church the villagers were being roused house by house and all seemed well so far. Still there was no sign of the spider. Then all of a sudden a women from one of the last homes searched called out for her son Thomas. Aura and Jehn went to investigate but they could not find him or any sign of a disturbance in the home. Speaking with Vari on how to best look for the boy a snicker was heard from a poplar nearby. Thomas was found in that tree where he had been watching the frantic search. His mother, who was irate at the boys antics, snatched him up and told him that if he ever tried something like that again she would bring him to the Hole in the Forest and leave him there.

With the excitement over all things seemed well. Perhaps the spider was not headed for Pinnock’s Glen after all. Then Rabor approached the constable and mentioned that the Winton farm, which lay on the outskirts, held two small children. At once Vari called for the Crack Team to help him investigate. The easiest path was through a cornfield to the north of the village and they group made haste to reach it quickly.

Upon sight of the cornfield Aura and Kel were able to point out a few figures entering the field each wore a cloak and not one of them seemed to have legs. The group pressed into the field and soon Kel met with one of the creatures, it let out an inhuman scream that seemed not to effect the group, then the warrior stepped forward and slew the floating head. More creatures were met within the cornfield and another scream pierced the air this time bringing a otherworldly fear that stopped Aura, Kel, and Vari in their tracks. The others continued through the field and broke into the open where the farmhouse stood. A small fire was burning beyond the home and in the flickering light they found the spider wrestling with something inside the home. It had fired one of it’s fangs and harpooned someone inside, but they weren’t without fight.

As Jehn and Osler broke for the home hideous women exploded from haystacks nearby. A vicious battle was fought to reach the home. Osler reached the door to the house but was paralyzed by one of the women Jehn fought tooth and nail hoping for reinforcements from the cornfield.

In the cornfield itself another battle was being fought, this for the lives of three of the group. Frozen with fear all Aura and Kel could do was watch as the floating head moved forth and kissed each of them in turn. What effect the kiss had was unknowable. Then Kel found himself able to move again and he lunged forward to silence the creature before heading towards the house. He was soon joined by Aura and Vari. With the odds tipped in their favor the Crack Team was able to defeat the women and turn their attention fully to the spider. Osler came free of his paralyzation and headed up to the loft where Winton was struggling to keep the spider from stealing his son. He rushed to their aid and struck at the cord that held the boy harpooned but was unable to sever it. Kel was able to keep the spider off balance but unable to score a wound, he did give Aura the time to call forth fire to her hands to throw at the beast. A few well placed fire tosses and quick thinking on the part of Kel and Jehn, using a newly sharpened plow to ram the spider, the beast was turned away and it fled leaving the boy behind.

The spider proved too quick to follow and when tracked back to a road its trail was lost. The group returned to the village greeted with many thanks by the villagers. Everyone spent the night in the church and when they woke went back to their homes. Feargus paid a visit in the morning to Aura and Kel and found them in a dire state. They had begun to undergo a transformation into one of the floating heads they had met the night before. A few minutes of prayer from Feargus stopped the spread of the disease but could not restore their hair which had fallen out overnight.

Feargus explained that there was to be another council meeting that night to discuss the hiring of the Crack Team to protect the village. He even gave the group an advance due to his faith that the motion would be upheld. Though he left them with the afternoon free to do as they pleased. They took it upon themselves to visit the May Ley Tavern.

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Indecision and Short Cuts

Following the rescue of Brea Moonshadow, the princess-to-be, the crack team of specialists found themselves in the middle of a heated debate within the temple of Olidammara. It seemed that the heart of the argument was what to do with the gold that Aura had turned over to the village. Feargus, Rabor, and Eustis favored using the money to hire Kel and his team for protection. Lindtel and a few others wanted the money to go to supplies, repairs, and use as a surplus in the event that crops failed or weevils damaged stores of grain. The meeting ended in a deadlock with no resolution, even an impassioned speech given by Kel fell on deaf ears.

Without any reason to stay the travelers set their sights on a larger town to the south. The quickest route of travel was through the Swamps of Vendor. Exchanging a few goodbyes the travelers headed into the heart of the swamp. The going was slow but sure to cut days from the trip, but as the muck and mire deepened splashing from ahead stopped them in their tracks. Hulking figures emerged from the hazy swamp and a quick skirmish ensued. One of the creatures, a dracotaur was slain, the other was allowed to continue on his way when it was determined all it wanted was to flee. Strange wounds, in the shape of an outstretched hand print, were found on the dead dracotaur. A decision was made to head in direction the dracotaur had come from to investigate their plight.

A few hours of travel later revealed a wooden palisade that surrounded a large hillock in the swamp. Apparently the dracotaur had built a village on the relatively dry hillock and had created the palisade for defense. It was there that the travelers met another human by the name of Jehn Al’Caar. He had been drawn towards the same area for reasons similar to the others. Questions were asked of the newcomer and soon he was deemed welcome by Kel. The four then pressed forward into the heart of the dracotaur’s village.

Dead bodies stretched out as far as they could see, there were soldiers, women, and children alike dead among a few large tattered tents. Their presence caught the attention of a group of undead in the tents and a tough battle was fought. The undead were vanquished leaving the tents in need of exploring. In one they found a half eaten dracotaur who, when approached, revived long enough to speak a few cryptic words. “The children…” it said before it expired.

Pondering the cryptic warning the team pressed forward through the encampment. They came upon horrors that took flight and peeled the skin away from anything they touched. The flying undead were slain and the group retreated into a wooden structure for a brief respite. They had settled in when clothing attacked them unawares, the animated clothes were also defeated. Finally ending what was slowly becoming a nightmare.

They would learn that it was only the beginning. Moving even further into the village voices around a bend gave the group pause. Osler, scouting ahead, relayed a grim scene. Another group of tents lay ahead tending to them was a whithered looking old woman. She was not alone however, a group of zombies seemed to be at attention behind her awaiting command. The worst of all was that a maypole had been erected the streamers that hung from it wrapped around the throat of a young child. The children marched in endless circles around the pole as the woman called to them.

Horrified the rest of the group came ahead to witness the macabre spectacle. It was then that a scratching was heard from beyond the palisade. The scratching grew louder and louder still until a large spider looking creature came over the wall. It spoke to the woman and turned its back to her. On its back were a multitude of wicked looking spines, a few of which each held a child pinned to the creatures back. The beast used its arms to extract the children and lay them out for the woman. When the task was done the spider clambered back over the wall and was gone.

The charge was signaled not long after. The group rushed forward and slaughtered the woman, but not before she had signaled her minions to attack. The battle was brutal and quick but was won with sheer vengeance. The children continued to circle the pole, until Kel took it upon himself to sever the streamers that bound them. As he did the children fell lifeless one by one.

Stunned the group looked for clues that might help them understand. They came upon a map. The map was of the surrounding area and showed places that had either been attacked or were next in line. Pinnock’s Glen was to be raided shortly. A decision was made to track the spider and stop it before it was able to harm any children in the unsuspecting village.

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The Forgotten Festival

Pinnock’s Glen rose from the hills and greeted three newcomers. They weren’t welcomed with open arms or warm tidings, instead they were welcomed by silence and a festival suspended in time. Kel Doran found the village on his journey south. His inquisitive nature led him to knock on the doors and windows of locked homes but was greeted with more silence and soon took a seat at a table to wait.

A traveler named Osler has the distinction of the first person to approach Kel in Pinnock’s Glen. Their conversation revolved around how much they did not know about what may have happened in this small hamlet. They weren’t speaking long before a woman named, Aura, strolled into the village. She was slightly bewildered, perhaps by the strange state of the village, but she soon gathered her faculties and made small talk with the others in the absolute stillness of the town square.

From among the buildings that comprised the village the three travelers spied a dwarf making rounds from home to home. The dwarves keen eyes zeroed in on the travelers and was soon striding slowly towards them. He introduced himself as Vari Earthhewer, the village constable. He held back when it came to answering questions and urged the travelers to accompany him to the rather odd, ramshackle church which also served as the town hall where some of the towns council was discussing current events. The travelers, whose interest had been piqued, acquiesced to his request.

The temple, dedicated to Olidammara, was a strange place filled with wooden pews and stained glass windows. Arguing loudly at the front of the church were a number of men. As the men voiced there differing opinions Vari introduced them, mainly by name, to the travelers. A man named Harrin Lindtel was arguing primarily with a man named Langrian Rabor. Lindtel was a farmer while Rabor owned the tavern in the village. Rabor was insisting that the village look for some kind of outside help, while Lindtel was vehement that outsiders would only draw unwanted attention to their problem.

Two other men stood at the front of the church a much older gentlemen, the villages oldest citzen, Eustis Pinnock. The other wore a crudely made robe, Vari explained he was Feargus Urqhardt the only priest who resided in the church. Seeing the newcomers Eustis called for Vari to bring them forward, much to the chagrin of Lindtel. Feargus introduced himself and explained the state of things in the village.

Sometime in the past a newly crowned king took the throne without having yet married. To the surprise of all his subjects chose to marry a commoner. The king and his queen ruled justly and the kingdom prospered for years to come. This led to a tradition of the prince and future king finding a bride from among the commoners that he would one day preside over. Villages in the kingdom would hold a reception in the princes’ honor. During the reception the prince had the opportunity to court all the single women also of age to marry. The prince would take months making his rounds and would choose one woman to become his bride, a princess to be, and future queen. The festival that had been interrupted was not for the prince to meet the eligible women of the village, but rather a celebration held to honor a woman from Pinnock’s Glen that had been selected by the prince himself. One of their own was to become the future queen.

The problem was that the princess-to-be had been kidnapped before the celebration started. She was to ride in on a coach drawn by horses but had been taken away by men on horseback before that could happen. There was only one witness a stable boy by the name of Sheldon Rosk. He had been thumped on the head before he had much of a chance to see anything and described men on horseback as the culprits.

The travelers considered the story and asked pointed questions finding out that the woman kidnapped was named Brea Moonshadow. The daughter of a retired adventurer of some acclaim, who lived a short distance outside of the village. Also they were told that there was very few that knew she had been selected by the prince, the selection was held with the utmost secrecy to prevent just such a kidnapping. They were also informed that a paladin from the castle was due to arrive first thing in the morning.

Kel took it upon himself to volunteer the others for the task and dubbed his new “companions” as his Crack Team of Specialists. Lindtel gave his objections but was outnumbered by Vari, Eustis, Rabor, and Father Feargus who could see no better chance for her safe return than the travelers. The three of them decided that the best place to start was with the retired adventurer, a half-elf named Pyke Moonshadow.

Arriving at Pyke’s home the Crack Team met their first obstacle. Brea’s father, while distraught with his daughters kidnapping, was unwilling to help bring her back safely. A strange turn of events considering his adventuring background, and the fact that he still seemed to be in fairly decent adventuring shape, for a man of his years. No amount of reasoning would convince Pyke to leave his home to save his own daughter.

Stonewalled their only choice was to head to the scene of the crime to gather some sort of lead on where the men had gone. Kel was able to divine the direction the horsemen, with the help of Aura, who had maybe seen them on her way into Pinnock’s Glen. The group headed north and after a dust up with a black bear came upon the horsemen.

The only witness to the crime had been woefully wrong with his description of the culprits. There were no horsemen, but rather centaurs, that had absconded with Brea. The centaurs had apparently stopped to rest and had the princess-to-be bound in a tent inside their camp. Trying to avoid a direct confrontation was harder than anticipated and it wasn’t long before Kel went down trying to draw attention away from the others who entered the tent unseen. When the smoke cleared the princess was safe and the centaurs dispersed. Kel was dragged back towards town on a make-shift litter coming to before reaching Pinnock’s Glen.

The travelers brought the unconscious Brea to the church where Feargus made her a place to recover. He sent word to Vari and then made small talk with the travelers finding an interesting conversation with Osler that led to a viewing of the churches most holy relic. The Jester’s Motely. Aura felt compelled to hand over a leather pouch containing a considerable amount of gold to Feargus knowing that the village could make good use of the gold. Kel was none too pleased. Vari watched over Brea and the adventurers slept having been invited to stay in the church by Feargus.

The morning found Brea no worse from her ordeal. She pleaded with the travelers not to hold her fathers actions against him. Brea asked to be taken to see her father before she was to meant the paladin. Vari asked that the travelers accompany him to see her to Pyke’s home safely. A tender moment between father and daughter ensued and they bid eachother farewell with Pyke refusing to see her off. Brea left with the paladin having vowed not to forget what Osler, Kel, and Aura had done for her.

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