Age of Worms

No Rest for the Weary
Green Worms and Brown Poo

The group decides to try to rest before continuing on with the aid of an arrow trap set by Ornith. However, not an hour in strange voices are heard coming from the previous room and before long a lizardfolk sets off the trap and battle ensues! The last lizardman to be targeted by the companions instead turns and runs back into the lizardfolk sleeping area. Following the lizardman hurriedly the companions find themselves face to face with yet MORE armed lizardmen. More fighting ensues! Exploding one lizardman body into bits, both the companions and a remaining lizardman are appalled to see green worms exiting the body. The worms begin to die immediately as Ornith places a couple into a vial for further examination later.

Healing quickly the companions continue down into the depths of the lizardfolk stronghold, finding yet another sleeping area along with another area full of mushrooms and the stink of decay and waste, complete with flies. Upon further examination Ornith determines that they are actually compost piles…the lizardfolk are environmentally friendly! As the companions attempt to pass though they are suddenly grappled by grasping roots and vines! The companions eventually destroy the Assassin Vine (with Ornith taking a sprig or two of course) .

Continuing on their way down the companions of course encounter MORE lizardmen! Fighting once again ensues, with yet more green worms wriggling from a corpse causing the remaining lizardman to run down the tunnel in terror. Thallis is approximately 99.99% sure that he saw brown poo dribbling from the terrified lizardman’s behind. Following the lizardman down the tunnel the companions are excited to find two of the captive humans! Of course more fighting ensues! Having killed the lizardmen the companions check on the captives and find them to be unconscious, but otherwise okay. Neither one however is Allustan’s mage friend Marzina. Deciding to take the captives and themselves into the nicer sleeping area and attempt to heal up and rest the companions do so, leaving Ornith and Torlin to watch the entrances. No sooner than 10 minutes into their rest time does Ornith hear strange voices coming from the northern entrance. Beldor immediately suits up and heads to battle! So…many…lizards…in…here…

Having slaughtered more armed lizardmen the companions finally agree to take the two captives outside and rest outside (finally success!). Just as the last of the sunlight is the leaving the sky however Ornith notices a winged shape leaving the upper part of the grove and flying off into the night; Thallis sees the same thing as morning approaches, only this time the winged figure is returning to the grove. Curious. The captives agree to hide somewhere outside while the companions return to try to locate the last remaining captives.

Returning back into the lizardfolk stronghold the companions enter a much cleaner and organized room and are met with not one surprise, but two in fact. The remaining two captives are finally located, and the seeming shaman holding them captive does not appear to be aggressive. Before any of the companions can make any aggressive moves, Ornith immediately steps forward and attempts to communicate with the shaman. The shaman is known as “Hishka” and in exchange for killing the king (in the other room) the captives will be set free. Ornith further convinces Hishka to enter into peaceful negotiations with the neighboring humans of Blackwall Keep. Hishka agrees, but only if the king is killed. Off the companions go to kill the king!

The king is a much larger and much more impressive lizardman, but the companions manage to slay him without taking too much hurt. Returning to Hishka with the head, Ornith attempts to shake hands with their seemingly new ally, Hishka refuses stating that that hand has slain many lizardfolk. To which Ornith replies with the simple statement “Your hand has done the same to many humans I am sure.” Eventually however, the two come to an official agreement to meet with the head of the humans of Blackwall Keep and come up with a pact that benefits all.

As the two talk Hishka also informs Ornith for the past two mating seasons the eggs of the Twisted Branch tribe have been seemingly infected with these green worms. If the in infection continues the tribe will be no more. Interested in the green worm infection the companions agree to venture into the water-filled tunnel that leads to the eggs and see if they can somehow help the Twisted Branch tribe and their plight. Hishka seems pleased by this plan and will not only come along with the companions, but also immediately jumps to disable all the traps in the tunnel. Hishka also informs the companions that all they need do is hold their breath for a little while and they will be fine.
TO BE CONTINUED!!

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Within the Roots of the Mangaru
A Dwarf's Beard Should Never Be Wet!

After the companions barely got away with not being lunch they heal up briefly and decide its probably best to just press on. Slogging through the swamp Beldor’s beard gets wet! The humanity! Or perhaps…dwarfity! The terrain gets a little drier and the companions are now forced to climb over rocks and endure ravenous swarms of biting insects before finally stumbling upon a useful camping spot. This time though, instead of statues of spiders, there’s evidence of actual live, large spiders, including bones. Setting a watch rotation the companions try their best to get as much rest as they can, but before too long Thallis is ambushed and bit by a spider! Sounding the alarm the companions jump up and do battle, but not before Thallis becomes paralyzed from the bite (not long lasting thankfully). The moment that Thallis becomes unparalyzed the spellcaster stands up, proudly proclaims that he is not afraid of spider, and promptly kicks a spider corpse into the water.

The next day Ornith manages to pick the trail back up and the companions soon find themselves on mostly dry ground complete with huge root systems of Mangaru trees. On the hilltop ahead however, Ornith notices two humanoid shapes walking a circuit of the root system, pointing this out to Torlin, the drow immediately sneaks up the hill to observe. Sure enough, the humanoids are lizardmen, and appear to guarding something, a total of four individuals circuiting the roots. Returning to the others it is quickly decided that Torlin, Ornith, and Thallis will sneak up and try to immediately kill one and take the other captive. Unfortunately the duo is too strong for their own good and instantly kill the first two, causing them to have to quickly drag the bodies to the side and try again. This next time they manage to tackle one and drag it back to the others for questioning.

“Hate Soft Skins.” Is the mostly the only helpful bit of information the companions manage to get, even after Torlin interrogates and promises to set free. Having convinced the others that the lizardman will be set free, Torlin decides to merely knock the creature out and leave it instead of slitting its throat like he had truly wanted.

Deciding to venture up to the roots and find a way in the companions are soon rewarded with finding an entrance and a tunnel. Proceeding in, Beldor casts light on both his beard and on Ariadne’s…errr…sword. There are multiple prints in the soft ground, but Ornith is unable to make out anything useful. Eventually they enter a room and find a clay pot with symbols depicting “eggs.” Deciding it best to not linger they continue on, stumbling into a room containing several formerly relaxing lizardmen…fight! Having killed the lizardmen the companions continue exploring and find themselves in a seemingly garbage room…from which soon rises a monster! After receiving tremendous damage both Ornith and Torlin want to run away, but can’t leave their friends behind. Against seemingly impossible odds the companions do triumph, finding little but medicinal mushrooms as a reward for their pains.

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Nothing is Ever Easy
Lizards, Shmizards

The rest of the evening passes uneventfully for the companions and under an overcast sky the group saddles up and heads off down the road once again. As the morning wanes on however, Allustan decides to entertain the companions with a challenge of riddles. Intrigued and excited to totally get the right answers always the companions eagerly participate.

“What am I: I’m tall when I’m young and short when I’m old?” After several failed guesses the companions rather sullenly give up with one last demand from Ariadne of,
“Tell me or I’ll beat you up!” To which Allustan merely chuckles in delight at.
Deciding to try his hand at it Thallis soon tosses a riddle Allustan’s way:
“What starts out on 4 legs, then 2, then 3?” Chuckling softly to himself Allustan immediately answers, “Why man of course!” to which Thallis says, “Good guess! But its actually…” and then goes into some long explanation about somebody getting beat up I think and walking around with a stick or something…I’m not quite sure since I didn’t write it down…

Anyway!

Mid afternoon finds the companions near the Keep, only a few things seem to be amiss. Ariadne and Torlin both smell blood on the air, and Ornith immediately notices an increase in the fly population, and Beldor smells smoke. Allustan however seems to be contentedly oblivious; the companions insist on continuing cautiously though. Reaching the foot of the last hill its decided to send Torlin up to the top to scout out the area, what he finds is not very promising.

Torlin sees across from their current hill another hill complete with a tower upon it, however it appears to have been broken into, or at least an attempt at breaking down the door, followed by a hasty repair job. The stockade doors are flung open and dead horses lie broken and bloody in the gateway. Beyond the tower is a vast marshy grassland, Torlin can make out at least three dead humans and numerous reptilian humanoids moving about the grasses, perhaps thirty in total.

Returning to his companions plans are immediately put forth as to what they should do. Ornith suggests that Allustan return as quickly as possible to Diamond Lake and warn the town of this potential invasion, as well as see if reinforcements can be obtained. The companions themselves will attempt to reach the tower itself under cover of darkness and assess the situation within. Agreeing to this Allustan whirls about and “Poof!” is gone in a cloud of smoke! Impressed by his teleportation the companions look at Thallis as if to say “Better get to work on that magic stuff.”

As evening approaches the reptilian humanoids begin to squawk and arm themselves as though going into battle; it is quite clear they mean to attack the tower again and the companions now have limited time. A larger lizardman steps out from the group and begins to issue orders as the other lizardmen begin to split up into separate groups. The companions immediately move in to flank the various groups and begin to pick off lizardmen one by one (or two by two, etc). Eventually the leader is slain! The seeming magic user however is able to run off, much to everyone’s disappointment.

The companions gain access to the tower and Beldor immediately begins tending to the wounded as the others gently question the remaining guardsmen. Apparently this was a much more intense raiding party than normal and the few Free City defenders that typically fight them off just were not enough. Some of their comrades, including Allustan’s friend Marzina, were carried off into the marshes. By this point several of the defenders are near hysteria and both Ornith and Ariadne attempt to calm them down. One man in particular had to be physically restrained by Ariadne in order to spread calm throughout the rest of the group, causing the man to start crying.

The companions decide that the best course of action is to split up for now and have Torlin and Ornith begin tracking the kidnapped defenders while Thallis, Ariadne, and Beldor help the remaining men repair the tower. Overhearing this plan, the defenders immediately cry out that the companions should stay together going into the marshes. Realizing that the defenders will not back down and will potentially go into hysterics AGAIN, the companions agree to leave together, and sooner rather than later.

Leaving the defenders, the companions enter the marshes where the ground is soggy and large Mangaru groves are spotted throughout (Ornith of course snags a sapling). Ornith starts out the expedition by tracking the lizardmen easily, however, as it becomes dark the trail becomes harder to see until eventually losing sight of it completely. Luckily the companions happened upon dry ground for the evening, although Beldor finds it surrounded by large, life-like stone statues of spiders. Due to the spiders seeming to only be statues, and in need of dry ground to camp on, the companions decide to stay.

The night passes swiftly and with no incident aside from the never ceasing calls of large insects and carnivorous birds hunting through the night. Ornith immediately starts tracking and picks up the trail once again in the morning. As they continue on the marshes get seemingly wetter, but the companions happen upon a timely Mangaru log just in time for lunch! Deciding to picnic upon it, their quaint lunch is suddenly interrupted by a giant crocodile bursting from the water! When Ornith’s attempt to befriend it, or at least turn it away, fails the companions are forced to kill the beast, but not without accruing some injuries of their own!

For some reason it is not letting me upload photos

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On the Road
Grand New Adventure!

Whilst maxin’ and relaxin’ in town Allustan’s butler, Wong, comes to inform the companions that Allustan wishes an audience. Following the butler the companions are led around the house to a wonderful garden area. Allustan is bent before them tenderly caring for the various plants surrounding him. Seeing the companions he straightens and motions for the companions to seat themselves upon various stumps present. Informs them that he has finished studying the artifacts, and that he very much desires to explore the ruins on his own. Thallis hastily explains the dangers present however. Allustan then requests that the companions escort him to Blackwall Keep so that he may meet up with a friend who has encountered these worms.

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Agreeing to escort Allustan, the companions immediately set out to purchase horses and supplies. In the process they come across Gimbrin sitting dejectedly upon a barrel; he appears to be sad that he can’t make any money while the mine is closed for the investigation. Ornith immediately convinces Gimbrin that he can be hired on with the companions as a “Professional Owlbear Handler.” Yahoo!

Having procured all needed horses and a wagon the companions leave the stables, only to be met with roughly twenty mounted individuals riding toward them. The sigil on the tabards appears to be that of the Free City Militia. The leader reins up in front of the companions, markedly nodding to Ornith, and thanks for the work at the mine. The group is simply patrolling the area though and heads out. The rest of the day is spent in preparations including teaching Gimbrin how to handle the owlbear, to which Thallis laughs uproariously.

The next morning the companions find Allustan outside the inn mounted on a fine steed, everyone mounts up and prepares to depart…until Gimbrin jumps up, shouts that he has forgotten something, and disappears into a nearby building. Looking at each other in confusion the companions decide to wait and see what happens. Moments later a masked man emerges and formally introduces himself as “Agent Raptor” and that Gimbrin has taken ill and can no longer join them. Agent Raptor then leaps into the driver’s seat of the wagon and the companions can only smile and shrug as they set off.

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As the companions travel Ornith and Allustan have a fine time discussing the passing flora and fauna when suddenly Thallis announces that he hears voices speaking up ahead. Beldor stops to listen and recognizes it as dwarvish! Overcome with excitement he immediately rides up to meet the other travelers. The companions spend time eating and joking with the group of hill dwarves before parting ways and beginning their travel once again (this would mark the second time where the group is confused as to which direction they are actually traveling…)

Allustan turns the companions south and they approach the first rest stop, an abandoned house. Calling out, no one answers so the companions proceed forward and into the house. Agent Raptor prepares the best meal the companions have ever eaten and the companions settle down for some conversation before retiring for the night. During this time Torlin notices Agent Raptor studying him unabashedly and copying his every move.

“Looks like somebody has a crush.” Ariadne says as she elbows Torlin. The drow ignores the comment, and moves over to Raptor to chat (new protege!).

The companions retire for the night only to be woken up by the intrusion and attack of a bunch of orcs! Obviously the companions slaughtered them all though!

Until next time!

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To Save an Owlbear!
Inn Name: The Smelly Drow

With the elevator having been destroyed during the battle (for which I had no notes…), Agent Raptor saves the day by throwing down a rope to the companions! As the companions walk out of the mine, surrounding people begin gawking at the blood and gore covering them. Guards, intimidated by the sight, drop their weapons and run.

The companions proceed to the mining office to look for the owner (Ragnolin Dourstone). Sifting through scattered notes, Ornith notices that once upon a time the man seemed to run a tight ship, but as the mention of the Ebon Triad enters his notes things begin to get messier. The companions then decide to search for Ragnolin at his manor.

Ariadne unceremoniously kicks the front door in of the unkempt manor.

“Ragnolin! Where are you?!” Ariadne yells into the manor. Shortly after she hears muttering behind a door and kicks it in, only to find a haggard looking dwarf slumped in a chair. Beldor shakes the dwarf, but get no response so slaps him. With surprising strength Ragnolin pushes Beldor back and attacks him! The companions manage to wrestle Ragnolin back in to the chair and tie him there as they explore the rest of the manor.

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Thallis eventually finds a trap door, opening it a foul stench wafts from the room. Beldor casts light and shines it into the room, illuminating the huddled form of a scrawny Drow. Ornith pushes the others to approach the smelly drow and ask for information. The drow introduces himself as “Torlin.” The drow appears much happier having located some stolen dagger within the manor and all decide to take crazy Ragnolin into town to Allustan.

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Reaching Allustan’s home, the wizard begins muttering some incantations and comes to the conclusion that its not a spell, Ragnolin’s mind is simply gone. Ornith pushes for the companions to take both Ragnolin and the evidence found to the authorities for a trial. As the companions make their way through town Torlin attempts to blend in with the crowds so as not to be noticed. Having surrendered Ragnolin and the evidence the companions then head to Balabar’s.

The owlbear is finally returned to it’s loving owner after much talking and promising to destroy anything with Balabar’s name on it (instead the companions decide to hide it away at the hideout house).

As the companions head through town they run into the same trio of adventurers from earlier, who after having no luck in the cairn they were exploring are now heading back to Free City. Wish goodluck!

Beldor, Thallis, and Torlin all leave to hide the documents, but notice a figure watching them and then slinking away. Torlin decides to follow and observe him…rather unsneakily and has to pretend to be urinating on wall to observe stranger. Continuing to follow the stranger Torlin stumbles into trash bins and has to pretend to be drunk now. Torlin eventually decides that the stranger is actually the doorman for the inn…

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Enter Agent Raptor!
Short and Sweet

The companions smartly decide to shop a little before returning to the mine’s depths. While Ornith is out gathering supplies however a mysterious figure sidles up to her, thinking it to be Gimbrin she goes to clap him happily on the shoulder, only to be stopped as the mysterious figure says:
“Please! Call me Agent Raptor!”

Unsure how else to act Ornith simply nods and listens as Agent Raptor explains that he has a way to get back into the mines. Returning to her companions Ornith relays this genius plan (don’t ask me, I didn’t write it down).

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Please note, this was as close to a published image that Agent Raptor would allow that we could get

The next morning the companions are met by Gimbrin who brings them several miner uniforms for them to wear into the mine. Told to act nonchalant and casual, Gimbrin however does a poor job of this. During their entrance a guard calls out to Ariadne, all the companions nearly freeze.
“Hey sweetstuff! How ‘bout you come service me when you’re done servicing the mine!”

The companions further watch in horror as Ariadne walks up the guard, picks him up by the shoulders and effortlessly tosses him to the side. Sure that they will be gathered up and executed the companions are relieved that the other guards simply laugh at the offender.

Finally entering the mine the companions go once more down the elevator to the dark cathedral, leaving the borrowed uniforms in a corner. Proceeding to the locked door, Ariadne utters the password that Allustan was able to decipher. Proceeding cautiously the companions are soon ambushed by birdmen…who just keep coming. Eventually all are slaughtered and the companions are left to wander and try to solve the labyrinth they have found themselves in.

Many hours later the companions get to a room housing bear-sized predators…dire weasels! Obviously they kill them all.

And for some reason that’s all I have written down, but the companions defeated the mine!

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Within the Den of the Ebon Triad
Weak Wizards!

The companions find themselves within the den of the Ebon Triad in an attempt to find information on the Age of Worms!

*Much exploring through putrid smells before having to stop to rest for the weak wizards.

  • Attacked by grimlocks, with one big nasty one whose eyes are stitched with fake ones.

*Return to cathedral area and proceed up stairs: blood stains, scratches from metal equipment, and ashes. Basket of offerings present; companions take offerings and throw empty basket into black pool…nothing happens. Throw offerings in too…still nothing…

*Proceed to north passage with symbol of hand holding eye (symbol of Vekna). Door is magically sealed, deemed time to return and confer with Allistan.

*Take elevator up and hear miners working ahead, decide to wait and exit with the current shift of miners. When the bell is rung attempt to exit, but some miners entering recognize companions from earlier and ask what happened. Companions bluff way out of awkward conversation luckily. Miner with missing finger however suggests that it may be better to get out of mine hidden in a cart covered with dirt…don’t forget the dirt!

*Miners meet back up with companions outside mine and help to uncover everyone. The companions are still in the mine palisade however, and the miners are no longer sure how to get them out. Pass out more gold to miners, especially Gimbrin, and the companions sneak along the wall with the wizards ready to start casting distractions. After “Ghost Sounds” cast companions make it out the gate successfully!

*Having returned to town Thok (aka Ornith) immediately checks on owlbear…but the owlbear is missing! Distraught Ornith tells the inkeep how incredibly disappointed with the establishment she is and forces the poor man to promise to look into the break-in. Meanwhile, Ornith and Thallis search around outside the window for any signs. Finding nothing the companions retire for the evening, set on heading to Allistan at first light.

*Allistan immediately begins to study the scrolls and books brought back, the strange script appears to be some sort of code, but Allistan needs the code key. The scrolls from the grimlock appear to be a mess written by a madman going on about a swarm of worms growing powerful in a pool of blackness in dark cathedral. Allistan delves into research, but promises to keep an eye out for any sign of the owlbear.

*Returning to the inn the wizards study spellbooks and scrolls while Ornith and Ariadne begin the search for the lost owlbear, starting with the tavern where the albino orc hangs out. As the two approach the tavern they notice a stranger eyeing them and starting to walk toward them.
“My master wishes to speak to you about your missing friend. Gather your other companions.”
The two return with everyone in tow and follow the man to a sodden old mansion…Balabar Smenk’s place…

*The balding, fat, and poorly clothed Balabar waves the companions into the room and gestures for all to be seated. Tanrug (aka Beldor) immediately starts out hostile, with Ornith holding him back. Balabar strikes a bargain with the companions that if they enter the Dourstone Mine and put a stop to the activities within he will return the treasured owlbear…little does he know the companions have already been there.

*Thallis shakes Balabar’s hand and the companions head out to return to the mine…

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"Wizards are Not Made for Climbing!"
Z-Axis Dimension

In this adventure the companions debated much, and mostly with Thokmay just being downright confused the whole night, about the z-axis dimension and how it can be used. These things were also done:

  • Thallis falls off a cliff-like wall everyone manages to climb down just fine. Thokmay catches him once, but eventually the clumsy wizard falls completely to the ground.
  • The companions are attacked by Chokurs and an incredibly large Grimlock while attempting to scale debris. Obviously all are slaughtered.
  • Thokmay eventually gives up on the debris pile and scrambles up a different ledge, throwing down a rope for everyone else to climb up (the wizard does this successfully thankfully).
  • Traveling down the new found tunnel the companions come across a swaying rope bridge and more grimlocks, complete with a bigger badder grimlock. Again, all are slaughtered successfully!

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Many moons ago...
Cultists, Grimlocks, and Krenshar, Oh My!

In short, the companions continue to explore the underground mine area that supposedly houses the cultists. During this evening the following occurs:

  • A room full of porcine feces is found, Thokmay digs through feces, but finds nothing of value and instead flings a handful at Thallis, hitting him squarely on the cloak (talk about your brown poop stains…).
  • Many images of a 6-armed figure, both in carvings and on crates found. Statue of Hextor (fist holding arrow) also found (evil deity), Thokmay smashes it against wall busting it all up.
  • More Hextor notes and images in bedchamber, as well as a stone altar in the next room. Also find symbol of Arithrival (red blood drop).
  • Mysterious pool of very cold feeling liquid, Thallis takes a sample.
  • Attacked by grimlocks and a krenshar which is an ugly beastie whose skin pulled nastily away from his face as he screamed at the companions. Obviously they were soon all dead.

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The Plot Thickens
Keep OUT!

Having looted the sarcophagus, the companions return to town in order to rest and fix up their “hide-out.” After hiring the necessary people the companions are happy to find out that in roughly 3 weeks it will be renovated completely! No more dirty inns for them!

The companions then return to Filge’s observatory in order to collect him for the investigation into the mine they agreed to. Upon arriving at his doorstep however, the companions soon all have furrowed brows as their knocking goes un-answered. Entering the observatory the companions are further annoyed to find that the entire place appears to have been cleaned out and Filge nowhere to be found. Clearly the coward skipped town. The companions decide that they still need to talk to Smenk though and so head back out the door and make their way toward the “fancy” inn where Smenk is known to be at. They don’t make it more than five steps though when they are accosted by a messenger. It would seem as though the wizard Allustan would like to speak with them. It is well known that Allustan is perhaps the smartest man in Diamond Lake, and brother to the mayor himself. Seeing nothing to lose by this interview the companions change their course and follow the messenger instead.

Arriving at the rather well-to-do house the companions are shown into the sitting room by the butler. Thok of course has the owlbear, Hemi, in tow and has to immediately begin reprimanding the animal as it happily begins to tear at the fanciest rug in the room. Thankfully the companions don’t have to wait long before Allustan himself enters the room.

“A juvenile owlbear! How fascinating!”

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Relief floods Thok’s face as the wizard devotes more attention to the young animal than the actual mess it has made. The wizard is further fascinated by the worm in the jar that Thok insisted on carting around, and after examining it briefly invites the companions to follow him further into the house. They enter what appears to be a room of both research and experimentation. Allustan quickly seats himself at the desk and places the specimen next to another one of almost exactness.

“Your specimen seems similar to this one. A farmer brought this to me after finding it in one of his deceased cows. He of course had no idea of its importance. Something of this nature generally intrigues me, but this, this I find concerning.” The companions can’t help but raise their eyebrows at this statement, a statement that is further intriguing when Allustan adds, “I’m afraid this may be a grave threat to Diamond Lake.”

Allustan looks up at the companions at this, seeming to examine each of them in turn before stating, “You look like a dependable bunch, would you mind investigating this further? I have a few leads here that will get you set on the right track.” Without waiting for an answer quite yet however, Allustan looks to a dark corner and talks as though to someone else. “Have Milo bring something for our guests.” The companions look to one another thinking they must have stumbled upon some crazy old kook. The air seems to move strangely however, and Thallis suddenly blurts out “Unseen Servant!” Allustan simply gives him a knowing smile before continuing on.

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“I feel that the worms are somehow connected to an ancient temple rumored to be hidden beneath the earth. I believe this temple to be within one of the copper mines, specifically the one owned and operated by Ragnolin Dourstone. He is, unfortunately, a rather surly, greedy, and paranoid fellow so gaining entrance may not be the easiest. Perhaps a little…reconnassance is in order…” And with that the companions agree to journey forth, with Thok staking the mine entrance out for the night to observe the guard situation.

Thok in the end doesn’t find too much worth while at the mine entrance, aside from the fact that the entrance is surrounded by a wooden palisade. The companions decide to come up with a sort distraction plan. Tanrug sneaks up to the far side of the palisade and casts the “Spark” spell, which quickly fans into a full blown fire. Soon there is chaos as the guards and miners alike rush over to either watch or try to put the flames out. Seeing the perfect chance, Thok manages to sneak up and open the gate behind the guards’ backs. Thallis is able to silently join her, but Ariadne and Tanrug apparently can’t help but stomp up to the gate. Thankfully though, Ariadne is able to knock the guards out quietly and the companions are able to enter the mine itself. A bottle of booze and a torch is left with the unconscious guards.

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Soon after entering the mine the companions come to a padlocked door with the sign “Keep Out!” on it. Clearly this is the door they want. As Tanrug starts to remove the hinges from the door, four miners approach the companions and ask what they’re up to. Thok is able to bluff them that they’re part of the “exploration crew” and that since there’s a fire outside they have to let themselves in. Surprisingly the miners accept this easily…as well as a gold piece tossed by Thok as the companions enter the room, replacing the door behind them. Before them is the elevator, Thok, Thallis, and Tanrug all hop in and ride it down with Ariadne climbing down the chain itself after them. Reaching the bottom the companions find a couple guards! Battle ensues! After the guards are dealt with the companions remove some of their armor to further investigate. As it turns out, the guards’ arms are covered in tattoos, their faces distorted into having fiendish aspects. They also carry a symbol upon themselves, that of a fist holding arrows which represents Hextor, the lawful evil god of war and tyranny. Looking at one another and thinking that perhaps they are into something bigger than they initially thought, the companions continue deeper into the mine.

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The next door is locked, but luckily the companions had scavenged the key from the guards. Thallis places the key in the lock and then uses his super magical powers to open the door from a distance. The room before them contains dozens of suits of armor upon bleached bones, all in seeming position to march forth. Entering the room the companions are a little surprised to find the skeletons suddenly marching toward them! Battle of course ensues! Almost as soon as the skeletons are defeated more guards and cultists appear in the room and more killing ensues! As the last of the guards runs away down the hallway, yelling something about “release the beast!” The companions can once again merely look at one another and prepare for this new assailant. Not long did they have to wait however before a horse-sized boar comes charging into the room, its tusks capped with iron. With unrelenting speed however, the companions manage to defeat this foe as well before hurrying on in a vain attempt to stealthily continue exploring the area.

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Soon they enter a larger room with a statue in the middle and a cultist sulking about near it. Charging the cultist and subsequently killing him, the companions soon discover they are not alone…not even close. Five humanoids appear on the balcony overhead, along with two seemingly zombie-type creatures. One of the humanoids is a lean man with white hair and a missing eye, wearing armor with the symbol of Hextor emblazoned upon it. Clearly this man is the leader! A long and bloody battle ensues, one in which the companions are eventually victorious! Seriously…no one died this time!

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