|01/21/2004||03/23/1374 DR - 03/25/1374 DR|
Humphgrough then asked the group to visit the Ash Temple on their way back to Silverymoon, and inform the clerics (of Silvanus) there what had happened to his forest. He had not seen them since the storms began, but thought that they could be of service in restoring the forest.
Daria remembered hearing about the legendary founding of the Ash Temple, and recited it to the rest of the party. (See The Legend of Ash Temple.)
After the party received detailed directions to the Ash Temple, they left Humphgrough, pledging to do as he asked. The uneventful, two-day trip took them down the road towards Silverymoon, finally entering the Moonwood where the temple was located. They arrived there on 25 Ches.
After about a half-hour of walking in the Moonwood, they were accosted by a band of wood elves. Speaking only in Elven, they questioned the party about their presence in the woods, directing their questions primarily to Thistle and Eltairin. The rest of the party definitely got the impression that they were not trusted and were viewed as inferiors to the elves.
Once they were satisfied that Humphgrough had sent them and that the party was not connected with the inhabitants of the Ash Temple, they were not as suspicious, and provided the party some information about the temple. They had been watching the temple from afar for several months as they believed that its inhabitants were Malarites. The last cleric passed on about 6 months ago, and the current inhabitants moved in shortly afterwards.
They have been waiting for them to start hunting the woods, but most of their hunting has been of humanoids. The inhabitants have preyed upon the infrequent pilgrims to the temple and travelers along the nearby road.
The elves told the party that there were 2 main inhabitants. One was a mutated ogre, with three arms, green skin, and a foul smell. The other was a tainted one. After some questioning, the party realized that this individual must have demonic blood in his veins. Setara named it a tiefling.
The party proceeded toward the Ash Temple. When they got fairly close, they found a secure place to pause. Yassel, with Thistle following behind, scouted out the temple.
The temple stood in the center of
what passes for a clearing in the Moonwood. The walls of the shrine were made
of timber. The
entrance was set into a portico supported by six wooden pillars. The lintel
that ran over the leafy capitals of the pillars was decorated with a strip of
clay friezes depicting monstrous humanoids, tangled plants, and sylvan creatures.
The porch was surmounted by a triangular pediment and covered by a roof of wooden
shingles, whose texture resembles the surface of a giant pinecone. The pediment
framed a triangular bas-relief featuring a large mask of Silvanus in the middle
, a grotesque three-armed giant on the right, and a young peasant-boy armed with
a sling on the right. A lattice of roots and vines draped the building
here and there.
Yassel returned to the group and told them what he had seen. The party discussed possible plans and strategies in dealing with the Ash Temple.
Eventually, the party sent Yassel back to scout further. Thistle and Eltairin hid in the woods near the clearing to give him cover in case he was spotted. The rest of the party stayed back, so that they were not spotted, but close enough to be able to help if needed.
Yassel climbed onto the roof of the temple, peered into the courtyard. He saw the ash tree but little else, and noted that the inner courtyard wall was not solid but several pillars with a low barrier between them.
Yassel then tried to cross from the inner roof to the more slanted roof over the entrance section. He, unfortunately, missed his footing and lost his balance. While not falling off of the roof, he made quite a racket up there.
The weasels by the entrance reacted to the commotion on the roof. Two of them entered into the temple. The two others moved outside to investigate. One of them moved away from the temple, and looked onto the roof, spotting Yassel.
Thistle and Eltairin shot at the weasels. They killed one in the clearing and the other in the woods. Both bodies were removed so that no one in the temple would be able to tell what happened to them.
As Yassel watched, he saw both the ogre and the tiefling enter the courtyard with the two weasels that were left. They did not try to venture out of the temple but remained around the ash tree. Facing a standoff, the party waited. Eventually, everyone, including Yassel, retreated to the safety of the woods.
When Yassel was about ready to jump down from the roof, one of the many vines that were climbing upon the temple attacked him. Fortunately, he was able to escape uninjured. Thistle identified the plant as an assassin vine, and was able to find one other plant of that type on the side of the temple that Yassel had climbed up on. He was able to locate them well enough that the party would be able to avoid their regions of effect in the future.
The party went back to their campsite to made more plans for attacking the temple. They spent enough time planning that the sun set before they could act. Undaunted, the party moved into the temple area once again. Yassel climbed back up on the roof, closely followed by Thistle. Yassel looked around the temple grounds, but was only able to see the ogre by the doorway to the inner back room of the temple.
The rest of the party entered by the front entrance. They saw four piles of bones in the temple's foyer near the door into the inner courtyard area. When Daria entered the foyer, they animated. Daria ran past them and entered the courtyard, leaving Kartoffl, Eltairin, and Setara to fight two of them. The other two followed Daria into the courtyard.
The ogre moved to engage Daria, followed by the two remaining weasels. Thistle managed to kill one of the weasels before it could engage Daria. Yassel tumbled down, and flanked the ogre. At the entrance, Kartoffl, Eltairin, and Setara managed to destroy one of the two bone constructs that they were facing, but their combat is far from over.
The battle is still engaged, and
its eventual outcome is unclear. Daria
and Yassel are facing the ogre with two bone constructs baring down on Daria. The
last weasel is charging Yassel. The tiefling has not yet made an appearance,
but cannot be far behind.
|02/10/2004||03/25/1374 DR - 04/01/1374 DR|
The battle continued at the Ash Temple. The last weasel attacked Yassel, and latched on. Fortunately after a few tense moments, it was killed and detached from Yassel. The ogre too was eventually defeated, but not before he had struck Daria several times.
The tiefling finally made his presence known. He used the music of his shalm to in turn hold Daria, cast a confusion spell on Kartoffl, Eltairin, and Setara, and blast Daria and Yassel with a shout spell. As a result, Daria was held helpless for several rounds, but was eventually able to shrug off the effects. His shout spell hurt both Yassel and Daria, rending them deaf for the remainder of the conflict. While Eltairin and Kartoffl were able to overcome the effects of the tielfing's magic, Setara was not, and she first struck Eltairin with her spear, then ran off into the woods in fear. It was only through the combined efforts of Kartoffl, Yassel, Daria, and Eltairin that the tiefling was finally defeated.
Meanwhile, Eltairin and Thistle were left to combat the bone constructs. After a prolonged battle, they too were destroyed.
Searching the tiefling,Yassel found a ring, bracers, a shalm, and a holy symbol of Sylvanus, much to his surprise. The group was very much surprised that they did not find a holy symbol of Malar on him. After much discussion, they thought that he might have been an evil cleric of Silvanus.
Yassel searched the back room, and found an unlocked wooden chest. Inside the chest, he found an ivory drinking horn rimmed with silver, a small golden bell, a golden bowl, and a worthless clay statuette of a weasel. After a thorough search, he also found a pouch under a floor slab; it contained 17 assorted gems worth 170 gp and a tourmaline worth 100 gp.
The party then rested for the night in the courtyard of the Ash Temple. Over the course of the evening, Yassel saw something in the ash tree that looked like a hoe, but the rest of the party forbade him from retrieving the object. Eltairin also noted the presence of a third assassin vine on the rear wall of the temple.
In the morning, Thistle wandered into the woods in search of wood elves who supposedly observing the temple. When they finally appeared, he explained to them what had happened. They thanked him for dealing with the situation, but said little else before disappearing again.
The journey back to Silverymoon was uneventful. It took 5 days, and they arrived back on 1 Tarsakh. Once in town, Setara identified the magical items, and they divided them amongst the members of the party. Daria chose to keep the shalm and attempt to trade it for an instrument that she could use.
© Copyright Maryrita Steinhour, 2002, 2004.