The Rose of Cheldraen

Midnight Snack, Session 1

As our beloved expatriots travel northward into Kegruthorn, they once again are ambushed by the annoying kobolds. This time it was a tripwire that released counterweight boulders triggering a multitude of devices: 1) two nets that captured and lifted Sen and Willow and 2) a circle of staves pointing inwards in multiple rows surrounding the party were lifted up to about a 30% angle from the ground. Meanwhile, the kobolds assault the party with a hail of sling-stones. Bertand, the only one with a full helmet, pretends to get knocked out while Dwindler and Thoraim go lights-out. As the kobolds approach, Bertand rises and crushes them with his shields, chasing down the few that try to run away and smooshing them into goop.

Carrying on, our intrepid wanderers arrive in a small village hamlet. The village is quiet and without cheer. In the Tavern the party learns that there have been attacks in the dark of the night from unseen monsters. Willow and Sen take the horse to stable it somewhere, and are lost for a day and a half. Talking to the villagers, they learn that so far only one man has seen him, but he isn’t talking, Bill. They head to Bill’s farm and are greeted by Bill’s wife. They are a young couple, and Bill is catatonic. Bill’s wife, busy with the farmwork and caring for Bill, has neglected any cleaning chores within the house. Bertand uses his calming aura to settle him, and he starts to babble. “They only come out at night in the darkness, so we thought we could blind ‘em with light. We thought we could blind ’em. We went in there with quick-light torches and flash bombs. But it didn’t matter. Nothing matters. They don’t care that we flashed ‘em, they just kept coming as if we didn’t do shit. Why didn’t it blind ‘em? Why didn’t they care? They ripped them apart. They started eating us right there. So much blood, so much crunching…” When asked about what they looked like, he could only say “sharp teetch, white eyes, so much blood, so much screaming…” The wife tells them that some of the strongest men in the village went to follow their trail, Bill among them. And after a few days, Bill wanders back into town and hasn’t spoken a word since. That was a few weeks ago. During this conversation, Dwindler busies herself using cantrips to clean the house and the dishes while Bill’s wife is distracted.

Bertand, Dwindler, and Thoraim decide to host a stakeout and see if they can find any of these monsters in the night. They hole up on the roof of a grainery and stand vigil over the night. After a singularly uneventful night, they head back to the tavern to reconvene and have some food. Bertand gets an ale and crawls into a corner to take a nap. Dwindler and Thoraim go out to speak with Captain Tiron, a proud guard driven to drink by the last few months’ terrors. Captain Tiron quickly agrees to help upon hearing that they are traveling with a paladin, so Tiron, Dwindler, and Thoraim head back to the tavern to get Bertand, who had just finished his ale and has not yet had the opportunity to begin his nap.

As a group, they head to the site of the most recent attack, a farmhouse that has been utterly ravished, no survivors. The doors had been bashed in with large claws and axe cleaves. The damage is on the door heading into the home, the door to the bedroom, and on the bed frame and mattress. The bedroom is splattered with blood. No body parts were found or recovered. The site of the next most recent attack was very similar. One of the attacks examined was were the only survivor from a family of 7 was a 3 year old girl. Looking at the site, the farmhouse was entered in a very similar way, the blood splatter was all over the bedroom. Dwindler crawled under the bed to take a look where the girl hid, and saw blood stains throughout the floorboards where it dripped through, and on the thresh on the floor where it pooled, except for a clean spot in the center where the girl was, meaning that she hid while the blood of her family poured down on top of her from the bed above her. Captain Tiron states that she is being cared for by her cousin, the blacksmith, and she has begun acting like a normal healthy toddler and playing with other kids now. The party decides that interrogating her would be pointless and damaging. The attacks show no pattern, and come from all directions from the forest.

At about this time, Thoraim goes to check on the horse and the others, and Willow shortly returns to join the party. She immediately insults Captain Tiron in a rather rude manner. After sorting out their feelings for each other, Tiron excuses himself to return to his duties. Willow and Dwindler decide to search the bed for any bits of body. Meanwhile, Bertand decides that he really needs a nap, and curls up under the hearth. From there, he sees chalk drawings from a child on the ceiling over the mantle, pictures of flowers, rainbows, sunshine, people playing, etc. Moments later, Dwindler wakes him up (he hasn’t slept in bout 36 hours) to get his attention about something, and proceeds to get involved in a discussion of theory with Willow. Grumpily, Bertand asks what they woke him up for. In midsetence Dwindler raises a finger to tell him to wait a moment. Frustrated, he turns over ignoring them, and promptly goes to sleep. Willow and Dwindler finish searching through the bed debris and find two teeth and a small, irregular bone. Dwindler heads into the village to see if anyone can scry or find out any information from the remains. Willow, meanwhile stays and watches Bertand sleep like a creeper.

Back in town, Dwindler is pointed to the apothecary as the resident magic man in the village. She is utterly creeped out by his introverted, socially awkward, dry monotone conversation with little sense in his responses. Somehow deciding he is both useless and creepy, Dwindler leaves without having recieved any real aid from him. Bertand wakes up, momentarily questions Willow’s creep factor, and then the two of them head back into town to catch up with Dwindler and find out what’s new. Curious about the apothecary, Bertand goes in and talks with him. They purchase a salve that encourages healing and wound closing, and three small clay jars of high-intensity potpourri in a vinegar solvent that they could splash and hopefully confuse the senses of these monsters that they had concluded must be blind and rely on other senses.

That night, they do another stakeout. Bertand is on top of the Grainary at Bill’s Farm in the Northwest of town, Dwindler is on a grainary in the Southwest, and Willow is on a grainary in the Northeast of town. They have decided on a simple system to signal each other. They will cantrip sparks into the air, green for spotting a monster, red for an alarm for help. Late in the night, Bertand and Willow hear movement from the forest. Willow can’t see shit since it is beyond her 60’ range of Infravision, but Bertand sees them as ark shadows moving in the distance. He watches them come out of the forest from the north between his position and Willow’s. There are four figures and they are heading due south toward the village center. Bertand drops down and advances with a bow and arrow borrowed from Captain Tiron. He runs to get within range and sends up green sparks. Too bad no one else can see the sparks with infravision, since it’s further than their 60’ visual range. By the time he is within range and fires his first arrow, it is close enough for Dwindler to hear as well. He fires an arrow striking one, and they turn as a group an head straight towards him. Panicked, he runs away back to his grainary shooting up red sparks until his cantrips are exhausted. Too bad noone else in the party can see the sparks. Willow and Dwindler are running after the noise they hear. Bertand gets back to the grainary and climbs up, firing back at the group that is closing on him, killing one. Willow catches up enough to encounter the one fallen body and resolves to run past stomping on him to ensure he is dead. However, she screws up and trips herself, falling prone right on top of the body. Dwindler arrives to find Willow sprawled embarrassingly ontop of one of these creatures who obviously was killed by the arrow sticking out of him and not by Willow. The two of them quickly run to help Bertand. These monsters are humanoid with thick, scaly grey skin and wide, strong builds. They have pure white eyes and sharp teeth, and long, greasy black hair, and wicked claws. They are dressed in filthy rags and wield axes. Upon arriving, they find Bertand on top of the grainary firing arrows down as the creatures are climbing the ladder to join him. He has killed one more and set for a final stand. One strikes him in the shoulder embedding it deep into his flesh rendering it useless and limp. Bertand, knowing where the roof beams are, strikes the muddled thatch roof with all his might collapsing it. As he and the two monsters fall through into the grainary, he catches himself with his one good arm on a roof beam. Willow arrives at the top of the roof to aid him and Dwindler secures the lower area in case more arrive. The creatures rise and begun to climb the upright beams towards the roof. Willow casts grease on the interior of the grainary, and they fall to the ground again. Willow pulls up Bertand and the creatures begin climbing by clawing into the beams. Dwindler uses ventriloquism to create the sound of a human baby, and the one on the bottom goes after it. The one climbing willow sprinkles some of the potpourri on and it is repulsed and disoriented, but keeps climbing. Firing some of the last few arrows, willow misses utterly and as the creature reaches the top, Bertand light a torch and shoved it directly into its face. The creature howls in pain and keeps pushing through despite its face melting, then finally drops to it’s death. Bertand calls down to insult the one remaining whom has ceased to chase after the baby noises, and it deftly launches it’s axe the full 25’ up right at him, narrowly missing as he rolls out of the way just in time. It also begins climbing up the post towards the top. Bertand brings the edge of the shield down on its hand hard as it reaches the top, breaking bones, but not breaking through the tough skin at all. It howls in pain, and likewise falls to it’s death.

Willow runs off to get Captain Torin and Thoraim. Willow and Torin arrive first, and Torin rigs the pulley system at the top of the grainary to be harnessed to Bertand. He is pushed off to hang freely and is lowered safely, if a bit roughly, to the ground. The short legged Thoraim has now arrived and heals his shoulder as he removes the axe.

Dwindler, meanwhile had gotten they key to the grainary from Bill’s Wife, had loaded up the bodies on one of Bill’s carts, and wheeled ’me into the grainary and locked ’me up.

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