|05/05/2004||05/16/1374 DR - 05/28/1374 DR|
After their audience with Lady Alustriel, the party spent some quiet time in Silverymoon. There were still more officials who wanted to hear what had happened and several who wanted to question them further, but for the most part the next week was peaceful. Setara finished identifying the magic items from previous adventures. The party divided the items amongst themselves and sold the ones they did not want. Eltairin started to train his horse to come when he whistled. Yassel went to Felix to learn all that he could about green slime.
On 19 Mirtul, the party was summoned to a meeting with Fredegar. He told them that the Silverymoon Pass had re-opened, and there had been several attacks in that area. The Knights in Silver were spending a great deal of their time dealing with orc incursions in the pass.
Fredegar told them that Alustriel wanted to hire the party to put a stop to attacks by a group of bugbears in the pass a few days from Khelb. She felt that this would be one thing that the Knights would not have to deal with. For completing this service, the city would pay them 3000 gp. The party, of course, agreed to take the job.
From various reports, they know that it is a fairly small group. They probably had recently migrated from some other region in the Nether Mountains and were fairly new to the area near Khelb.
On 20 Mirtul, the party left for Khelb. They arrived in the village on 25 Mirtul.
Khelb was not anything like they had remembered it to be. Spring had brought people and business back to the village. People of all sorts were conducting business. Caravans were traveling to and from the village. Knights were leaving on and returning from patrols in the pass.
Yassel and Daria spent their time in Khelb listening to rumors and tales of the region. They learned that most of the attacks on caravans were from orcs. A few had seen bugbears within a few days of entering the pass, but they hadn't attacked as their caravans were too large and well-protected. Rumors had it that the bugbears were well organized and tended to use hit and run tactics when they did attack.
There was also talk of many tribes migrating south this spring. Many were at a loss to explain this. Others suggested that giants in the north driving smaller races to the south. No one had concrete evidence to prove their claims.
Kartoffl, of course, suggested that since they were in the area the party should pick up Romai, redeeming some of their debt of service owed to the group by the dwarves of that mine. There was some debate about it. Some thought that the detour might take too long, especially if they had to return to Khelb. In the end, people agreed, particularly when it was decided that the party could cut directly south from the mine and arrive in the domain of the bugbears without returning to Khelb.
They arrived at the mine on 27 Mirtul where they were greeted warmly. Dain Rumblgut declared that there should be a feast that evening in honor of their visitors. Kartoffl asked that Romai accompany the party as partial repayment of their debt, and was granted this.
During the feast, the party asked about bugbears in the area, but the dwarves had not heard any thing about them, being too busy with their mine. Dain suggested that the party should travel to a nearby mine that a small band of gnomes had just started. They would probably know much more about them than the dwarves did. On 28 Mirtul, the party with Romai left for the gnomish mine.
When the party approached the mine later that afternoon, they saw a lone gnome statue outside of the mine along with 3 ore carts. The mine itself seemed abandoned when they investigated. The gnomes' possessions were still there, so the party suspected foul play.
After spending some time searching the mine, they came to a large boulder that blocked what seemed to be another entrance to the mine. Around the boulder, Yassel spotted another statue, so Kartoffl, Thistle, and Eltairin removed the stone.
There were 2 gnome statues in the valley beyond. They also saw 6, 3 ft-tall, strange-looking chickens with long feathered tails staring at them intently. Yassel noted that the birds' wings had been clipped so that they could not fly. Setara identified these birds as cockatrices, and mentioned that these probably had been responsible for petrifying the gnomes. Their beaks had the ability if they pecked someone.
When the party started to advance, the cockatrices attacked the party. Arrows flew followed by a fireball from Setara as they advanced. In a single round, they managed to kill half before they had gotten to the group.
Suddenly, the party noticed the ground shiver to the tempo of thunderous footsteps. The cockatrices stopped their advance on the party, and ran off. In a few moments, the party stood facing an enormous stone giant, wearing a huge straw hat and carrying a huge greatclub. "Hey!," he called out. "What happened to my chickens?"
Daria then began to negotiate with the giant, whose name was Rumble. It seemed that he and his wife, Perika, considered the cockatrices to be their chickens,and they were raising them for their eggs and feathers. The gnomes had been attacked by the chickens when the gnomes had trespassed on the giants' land. Evidently, the cockatrices also kept escaping from their pen.
The giants had all of the five remaining gnome statues. Perika had taken a liking to 3 of the statues and had them in her garden. Daria persuaded them to give the party the statues if the party could find the giants a young cave bear. Evidently, the giants had lost a cave bear that they had as a pet a few years ago, and wanted another one. Perika also wanted 3 "pretty red gems" that she could put in a necklace. In addition if the party found some way to get the giants' eggs to market, the giants would restore the gnomes to flesh.
|05/12/2004||05/28/1374 DR - 06/01/1374 DR|
The party retreated into the gnomes' mines to have a discussion on the recent battle.
Following the discussion, the party met with Rumble to repair his fence. They found that it was poorly built, little more than a pile of logs. It was no wonder that the giants' cockatrices kept escaping.
After a little planning, Kartoffl dug through the shallow soil to reach the bedrock. He then used his stone shape spell to form several stone posts about 4 feet tall with hole to insert the wood slats. He found that he could only create enough posts to cover about a third of the needed area. Since he did not have any more of that spell available that day, he realized that the rest would have to wait for tomorrow.
The party went out to gather wood for the rest of the fence. They decided not to include a gate as the giants could easily step over the fence if they wanted to get a cockatrice and a gate would only make it easier for the cockatrices to escape.
Yassel approached Rumble to ask if one of the gnomes could be restored prior to the completion of all the party's tasks. It would be a show of good faith on the giants' part, and the gnome could have valuable information on where to find the red stones.
Yassel also took the opportunity to ask how large a cave bear the giants wanted. Rumble was a bit vague in his answer. As long as it was weaned and not full grown yet, it seemed to be fine with the giants.
Rumble agreed to Yassel's request to restore one of the gnomes. He met the party near the statue of the gnome who was petrified while fleeing the mine via its front entrance. Rumble pulled out a small wand that he said he had gotten from some well-dressed fellow a while back. Finding that he, in fact, had no idea how to use such a wand, Rumble handed the wand to Setara to use. With a little bit of effort, Setara was able to use the wand to turn the gnome back to flesh.
The party led the newly restored gnome back into the mines. They explained to him what was going on and their attempt to gain the release and restoration of him and his fellow miners. The gnome, whose name was Mosh, told them about their encounter with the cockatrices that led to the gnomes' petrification.
Mosh told the party that they were mining a silver vein deep inside of their mine when they accidentally broke through the wall to the outside. They were surprised when they saw several "evil chickens" in the valley beyond. These chickens attacked the gnomes while the gnomes were trying to clear the rock away. They ran but could not outrun the evil fowl. Mosh fled through the mine only to be struck as he exited the mine; that is the last thing he remembers before seeing the party a few minutes ago.
Yassel visited Rumble again to ask about the well-dressed fellow who had visited the giants. Rumble told him that the man, who did wear robes, came from the big city to the west. He was very interested in the giants' chickens. He gave them the wand in case someone got turned to stone. The fellow also made the giants' wedding rings, which were supposed to protect the giants from bring turned to stone by their own livestock.
After returning to the cave, the party spent the night in the mines with Mosh. Yassel was very happy as he got a bed that was his size (while the others did not).
In the morning of 29 Mirtul, the party continued their task of building the fence. Kartoffl finished the rest of stone posts with more stone shape spells. The rest of the party hauled the logs and inserted them into the post holes.
When they were finished, they showed the new fence to Rumble. He was very pleased to see his new, pretty fence. He marveled at how well-built it was.
Next, the party decided to try to find a young cave bear. They followed the directions to the region where Rumble had seen cave bears before. The party did not know if they would find a youngster in that area, nor could they agree on the best course of action for getting the bear.
They were still debating their task when they came across 5 leucrotta ripping up the remains of a couple of unidentifiable creatures and torturing something inside of a cave. A battle with the foul beasts ensued with the party killing the leucrotta. When they finally examined the remains, they found them to be that of 2 bears.
Eltairin went inside of the cave to see what was inside, and found a terrified baby cave bear inside. With help from Daria to calm its emotions, Eltairin offered it food and tried to show if that they were its friends. After a while (and much complaining from Yassel being bored), the baby bear took food from Eltairin.
Kartoffl then used a speak with animals spell to try to convince the little bear that they were its friends and would bring it to a new, safe home where it would be cared for. They were about to give up when the little bear, whose name was Koda, came out to join the party. Eltairin and Kartoffl escorted Koda back to the giants.
Rumble and Koda took an immediate liking to each other. While not at all adept at fence building, Rumble showed a natural ability with bears. Soon the two were getting along famously.
Setara used the giants' wand to restore two more of the gnomes. The gnomes and the party then had a discussion as to where to find red gems so that the party could restore the rest of the gnomes. They were able to give the party directions to a vein of red stone near Romae's mine that the gnomes had seen when they traveled in that region; it would be a day-long trip to get there.
The gnomes happened to hear about the need to establish a trade route for the giants' cockatrice eggs and feathers. They agreed to transport the merchandise to Khelb if they were allowed to remain in their mine and work without intrusion. Little bargaining was needed to mediate this deal between the giants and gnomes, especially since the evil chickens were now safely behind the party's fence.
Setara mentioned that her father, Naaman, would certainly agree to receive the merchandise from the gnomes and sell it in Silverymoon. There was agreement all around to this suggestion. The party would get a small cut for arranging the deal, perhaps a discount on pearls for identifies if it could be arranged. Final arrangements would have to be made once the party returned to Silverymoon.
In the morning of 30 Mirtul, the party left for the quarry that the gnomes had told them about. The journey was uneventful, and they were able to find the red stones without much problem. Kartoffl used a stone shape spell to remove several of the stones from the surrounding rock. He used another stone shape to fashion the excised red stones into gem-like shapes.
camping near the quarry overnight, the party returned to the gnomes and giants
on 1 Kythorn. Perika was very pleased to receive
the red stones, and thought that they were very pretty indeed. Rumble
and Perika gave the remaining gnome statues to the party, and Setara used Rumble's
wand to restore them.
© Copyright Maryrita Steinhour, 2002, 2004.