June 17, 1482
The party accepts Leosin‘s offer to arrange the ritual. In the morning, the heroes gather outside the city, and are transformed into hawks. They spend three days in this form, flying north towards Oakhurst. In the meantime, horses will be sent to Oakhurst in preparation for the group’s return.
June 17 – 20
Flight to Oakhurst.
The party lands just to the east of the small village and recited the command to end the ritual. They walk into Oakhurst, making note of the various shops and residences, and decide to first visit the Ol’ Boar Inn.
The proprietor is a human called Garon. Garon, in the tradition of small-town inkeeps, is a font of local information, and the party learns several things:
- Back around ’69, a grim man named Belak visited town. He seemed despondent, and left after a day or two, never to be seen again. He stayed at the inn, and said such odd things compared to their usual visitors that Garon never got over the sight of sadness in his face.
- About a year later, goblins of the Likho clan, which infest the ruins deep within a nearby ravine, started showing up in town, selling a single, perfect red fruit. Once or twice a year since, they show up and offer one for sale to the highest bidder – which is almost always Mayor Vernor Ledota. Usually the fruit sells for around 50 gold, which is more than most people can afford. Garon claims that the fruit heals those who suffer from any disease or other ailment. A few villagers have tried planting the seeds to grow their own fruit, but as soon as saplings grow, they disappear – stolen back by the goblins no doubt.
- A little more than a month ago, a paladin of Pelor named Ser Brayford and his retainer, a Ranger called Karakas, arrived in town with the intent to clear the old ruins. The local shopkeep, Kerowyn Koldricsson, has a brother Talgen and sister Sharwyn who hired on to accompany them. They set off one morning and have not returned.
The heroes next pay a visit to Kerowyn. She is initially suspicious, but eventually tells the party that her brother and sister were hired by the visiting Ser Brayford as guides and to help clear out the old ruins. Talgen is a man-at-arms, and Sharwyn is a magic user; both are sort of the local “adventurers” and Kerowyn expected they could handle themselves. Since the party mentions they are headed to the ruins, she asks them to look into her siblings’ fate. Worst case scenario, she offers 125 gold each for the return of their family signet rings.
The party wastes no time and departs for the ravine immediately. Night falls, and while camped for the night, they are attacked by some form of creatures, seemingly made of sticks. The battle is won with little damage to the party, but some puzzlement over exactly what the creatures were.
The next day, the party arrives at the ravine. There seems to have been a huge land bridge that crossed the ravine, the center of which collapsed long ago – apparently dropping a small fortress down into the darkness below. The heroes carefully climb down, discovering some rough-hewn steps leading to the ruined citadel’s gate.
A short dungeon crawl ensues, with the group battling giant mutated rats and falling victim to several traps. Eventually they come to a room with a broken cage, and a small runty kobold, wrapped in its bedroll, whimpering nearby. They grab the creature, and discover that he is Meepo, Keeper of the Dragon for the Trik Clan kobolds. He is generally weepy and frightened of the party, but they calm him down and get some information from him.
He says, “Our clan’s dragon … we lost him! The wretched goblins stole our Calcryx! Snuck in here a few days ago and killed my team and stole Calcryx!” Calcryx is a white dragon wyrmling that somehow the kobold clan got hold of and now keep as a mascot / future object of worship.
Meepo takes the party to Yusdrayl, the Trik Kobold Queen. Yusdrayl sits on a makeshift throne deeper within the citadel, surrounded by her clan. She meets with the heroes, and they learn quite a bit from her:
- “Trik Clan is here to take back this holy site of dragons. Our tales tell of dragon worshippers here long ago, and we will take this place for our own.”
- “The Outcast Belak is our hated enemy! He lives below, and grows the fruit. The dragon-thieving goblins work for him!” Until recently, the Likho goblin clan occupied the entire citadel, working for Belak.
- Ser Brayford and his party were here, just shy of four weeks ago. Yusdrayl says she told them about the Outcast and his goblins below, and they headed off into the goblin-controlled area of the citadel. She has not seen them since.
A deal is proposed – if the party promises to retrieve their stolen dragon, Yusdrayl will send Meepo with them as a guide, to show them the “back way” into the goblin areas of the fortress. The party accepts, and Meepo leads them down several disused corridors.
In one such passageway, curiosity overcomes Gareth, and he opens a side door to investigate. Within, a lit candle sits on an altar next to a small glass whistle, and five sarcophagi line the walls. Gareth takes the whistle, and ghastly undead horrors burst from the sarcophagi. A lengthy battle ensues, with the party cleverly using Turn Undead to corral the creatures and pick them off one at a time.
The battle over, the party stopped to rest.