Chronicles of Ascension

Book I - Chapter Four

Old Owl Well

The group emerged from the manor just as dusk falls over the town. They make their way back to the Stonehill Inn. The Inn is quiet, very few townsfolk are present – a stark contrast to their first night here. Azor is sitting by the fire with Sister Garale who has tended to his wounds.

Sildar is standing by the stairwell with Keyan, noticing the group’s presence he walks over.

“Good evening my friends, what news do you bring?”

The group relay the events which occurred at the Manor

“Interesting, I can only express my disappointment, I must say I never knew Iarno well but there were many in the Alliance who held him in high regard. Equally disappointing is the fact that he escaped. I must ask that I take this letter from you, such an allegation will need proof and right now this is all we have. If your information is correct we will need the assistance of the Alliance in taking on the Cragmaws”

The group agree and Loristel hands over the letter, keeping the copy she made earlier.

“I am most grateful for this, I will send word immediately. Even those loyal to Iarno will have no choice but to act on this evidence.” Sildar places the letter in the satchel to his side. “It will take some time before any support arrives, I’d recommend you get some rest tonight. I believe the townmaster would like to speak with you before you go. He is upstairs with the prisoner.”

Sildar takes his leave and calls Keyan over to join him by the fire.

They reconvene and head upstairs. Harbin, The townmaster, greeting them as they approach the top.

“Greetings adventurers, I must first thank you for your actions and apologise for my own. I let fear cloud my judgement, putting yourselves and the entire town at risk. I do not seek your forgiveness, but I wish to express my gratitude. I have made arrangements with Toblen and he has agreed to let you stay here free of charge.”

“Before you take your rest I must ask a favor of you. You have already done so much but as it appears you will be staying with us for some time I would appreciate your assistance with another matter which has been plaguing our town.”

“You have no doubt seen the notice by the town hall. Orc raiders have been threatening trade along the Tribor trail near the ruined town of Conyberry. The Redbrands were a group of low life scum but at least they seemed to have a goal, these Orcs seem more intent on simply murdering innocent people as they pass through. People from the east have all but stopped traveling to our town in fear of being raided. A member of our community, Daran Edermath, was in that area recently and he believes he has located their camp. I’d recommend you seek him out come morning and find out what he knows, I know he had his own goals in the area that were not fulfilled and he may also require your assistance. You’ll be able to find him at his Orchard not far from here in the morning”

“We are truly grateful for your assistance, I cannot offer you much but I managed to secure 100 gold pieces. If you complete this task for our town I would gladly hand them over to you, along with my gratitude.”

The group waste little time discussing the issue, unanimously agreeing to complete the task come the morning. Harbin is greatful for their support, thanking the group. Before he leaves he turns to the group and asks them.

“What are we to do with the prisoner? We don’t really have the means to deal with him here, we don’t even have a jail let alone a court to trial him in. Given all you have done for us and my recent short comings I will leave his fate entirely up to you.”

The group discuss the issue amongst themselves. While Xanros believes they are best served simply killing the former Redbrand, the rest of the group decide that it would be better if he were able to somehow help the town. They Decide to let the prisoner go free and work off his debt to the town via community service.

Harbin nods in and agrees, deciding to take the ruffian on as his assistant. He then takes his leave and the group take to their rooms and rest for the night.

Morning breaks and the group arise, feeling well rested. Each member gradually makes their way downstairs and settle around a table at the Inn. After partaking in the meal for a shot while Sildar enters the room and walks over their table. Droop entering the door behind him.

“Good morning fellows, I hope your night was well, you certainly earned the rest.” “I sent out letters this morning asking for support from our allies. As I said last night, it will take some time before any support arrives but Harbin tells me he already has a task for you to perform in the meantime. While you’re gone I’ll be heading into the forest with Droop, hopefully his information is accurate and we’ll be able to scout out the location. I’ve left Keyan in charge while I’m gone, he’ll stay in town and help the townmaster with whatever he needs.”

Sildar takes his leave and exits the Inn. Droop follows, stopping only briefly before leaving and looking over to your table. He smiles, as best a goblin can, and gives a small wave. Loristel tosses him a piece of bread before he leaves. He seems thankful for the food, gives another jagged smile and then makes his exit.

After finishing their meals the group move on into the town, while everyone else heads straight for Daran’s Orchard, Loristel first heads to the Miner’s Exchange to seek out Halia. She presents her with the copy of the letter they found in the Manor and relays that they were unable to capture or kill Glasstaff. Halia is most disappointed, and gives only a fraction of the original reward. She does find the letter interesting however and requests that Loristel bring her any other information about the Redbrands and the Black Spider they might find.

The rest of the group arrive at the Orchard and walk up to the old wooden shack. The door opens as they approach and a tall silver haired elf welcomes them.

“Good morning, I expect Harbin sent you?” Hotknutz confirms this as Loristel catches up with the rest of the group.

“Well met then, my name is Daran, please come into my home” Daran opens the door and invites them in. The cottage is quite comfortable, the smell of a well cooked meal still lingers in the air. Maps and artifacts from all corners of Faerûn adorn the walls and shelfs of the small home. Signs of Darans obvious life of adventure. Daran and the group sit down by a small table.

“Thank you for coming, I know the townmaster is quite eager to get this whole mess sorted so I’ll get right down to it. There is a set of ruins known as Old Owl Well not far from Conyberry. They are the remains an old watchtower built by the ancient magical empire known as Netheril, and I fear that dangerous magic might be dormant there. More disturbingly, several prospectors have reported being chased from the area by undead. Given the trouble with the Redbrands I took it on myself to investigate these rumors. Unfortunately before I was able to reach the ruins I was attacked by a group of orcs. Thankfully they underestimated my abilities and despite a few injuries I was able to defeat one of the beasts. This seemed to be enough to deter the others and they ran off. The Orc I slayed had a crudely drawn map on his person.”

Daran gives the group a crudely drawn map.
OrcMap.jpg

“Unfortunately my injuries did not allow me to press on personally, I’m not quite the young man I was. I believe these Orcs are behind the recent attacks along the Triboar Trail but I don’t believe they are connected to the ruin itself. In fact their scribbly map suggests they are actively avoiding the area.”

“I hope the map helps you locate the Orcs, It looks like they have set up in the old Wyvern nest now known as Wyvern Tor. A group of adventures cleared the place out years ago but it seems a good location for bandits to set up camp. I’d only ask that you take the time to visit the ruin on your way and place the gem at the center of the ruin.”

“With one hand on the stone simply read the contents of this scroll. It will cast a ‘Dispel Magic’ spell over the area, using the gem to hold the spell in place, it’s not permanent and the gem itself is very sensitive so be sure to place it somewhere secure. Even the slightest shudder could interrupt the spell. Hopefully this will buy enough time for my allies in the Order of the Gauntlet to secure the area permanently. If you complete this task for me I will reward you as best I can. I’m retired these days so I’m short of gold but I have quite a few valuable items you may find interesting.”

The group agree to undertake this mission for Daran.

“I thank you for undertaking this task for me, I’ve already contacted the Order and I’m sure they’ll appreciate your help with this matter.”

Daran bids the adventurers farewell as they leave the cottage and set out back into town. They collect supplies and discuss their travel route before eventually setting out. Deciding to follow the crude map towards the tower first before taking care of the Orcs.

The journey takes roughly 3 days. Signs of bandits are obvious along the trail, and they spot a few abandoned carts stranded by the side. Picked clean of any valuables and definite signs of struggle surround them, some still even have stains of blood from their unfortunate owners. Recent rain has made any tracks difficult to follow, but Xanros is able to determine that they seem to all be heading east. The very direction they are heading.

Eventually they reach the hills. As they crest a low ridge, they spy the crumbling ruins of an old watchtower standing amid the rugged hills. The place is so old that the walls are only mounds of rubble. A darkness seems to hang over the ruin, as if the sun is not permitted to shine upon it anymore. The group take their time and approach the tower, spending little time examining the surroundings before heading straight into the tower. Gareth opens the door to the old tower, discovering a small group of Zombies inside. The group approach to assist and begin to tackle the approaching undead.

Things take a turn for the worse however as more fiends suddenly burst through the earth behind the group. Taking them by surprise and forcing a change in tactics. Gareth, Azor and Loristel do their best and take out the zombies inside the tower, attempting to clear them out. Hotknutz and Xanros do their best to fight back the zombies outside but their inventive tactics prove ineffective against the sheer number of foes they face. Eventually the group clear out the inside of the tower and fall back inside it, funneling the witless zombies through a bottleneck. Azor and Gareth hold the line but they are outnumbered. Hotnutz and Loristel decide they need to place the gem now, hoping it will help turn the battle in their favor. After an initial fumble, Hotknutz manages to encase the gem inside some hot wax he’d bought previously. Keeping it steady while Loristel casts the spell.

The spell is cast and a burst of pale blue energy radiates out from the gem. This causes many zombies to simply disintegrate, however many still remain and continue to advance towards the tower. The doorway now clear the group decide to take advantage of the opportunity and Gareth slams the doors closed.

The undead are however not so easily dispatched and continue their approach, banging on the door. Their lingering moans echo through the old tower. Realising that the zombies are now grouped together at the door, Hotknutz decides to simply drop the door on them! The group agrees and they remove the bolts from either side of the door, followed by a hefty kick from Gareth’s boot.

The door crashes down, crushing the zombies beneath it. All but one are completely destroyed by the fall, not that the survivor really fared much better. It lies, struggling under the weight of the door before Hotknutz walks over and finishes it off with an arrow to the face.

With the zombies defeated the group turn their attention back to the stone. It seems to have worked, glowing faintly and emitting an almost heavenly hum. They notice that the sun has now started to shine on the tower. The strange darkness that lingered here seems to have passed.

Happy withe their achievements they decide to take rest in the tower, confident that it is now safe. They clean their arms and armour, tend to their wounds and prepare to head into the hills the next day. The Orc camp still awaits…

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mikecrick

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