Rise of the Runelords

The Waters Rising

The Hook Mountain Massacre, Part 7

Wealday, 13 Kuthona, 4733

After activating the floodgates on Skull’s Crossing, the adventurers discuss their next steps. They decide to return to Fort Rannick for the night.

The Black Arrows have bunked up in one of the gatehouse towers, with the fort still in too much of a mess. Lea heals the wounded Kaven, while Marcus retreats to a room to read and work. Zavian teams up with Vale, making use of the ranger’s architectural knowledge to put his stone shape spells to best use restoring the structure. They have the rangers send an animal messenger to the town to warn the citizens of the danger of flooding.

Finally, the adventurers bed down. Zavian’s sleep is troubled by dark thoughts of the day’s revelations about his history as a fallen celestial. Marcus has a dream about being back in Sandpoint, introducing his parents to his girlfriend. He grows worried upon waking as he realizes such a meeting could be taking place right then. Amelia has a restful, dreamless sleep and rises early to groom her hippogriff.

Oathday, 14 Kuthona, 4733

The party decides that before heading out to Hook Mountain, they should journey south to the Shimmerglens to search for the missing Black Arrows Commander Lamatar Bayden. They hope to recruit him, and possibly fey allies, to help them confront the ogre stronghold.

However, as they approach Turtleback Ferry, the adventurers realize that the town has in fact flooded. There are a few people stranded on rooftops, including a group of school children. Although some of the residents are being evacuated by boat, the process is hampered by the presence of river predators: crocodiles and an enormous nightbelly boa constrictor. The enormous snake is menacing the children, but a pair of figures are struggling through the waist-high water towards them: Nualia and Vivi.

The Rune Wardens rush to the rescue. Lea makes use of the boots of the mire to stride confidently across the surface of the water and bash the nearest crocodile into submission. Amelia, riding her hippogriff, carries Astrid to the schoolchildren to confront the snake.

On a different rooftop, a group of panicked civilians threatens to overload a small rowboat. Marcus flies over there and offers to carry some of them away. But before he can evacuate people, a crocodile grabs hold of the man in the rowboat.

Zavian then enters the fray, casting control water to sweep the crocodiles away from the civilians and towards Astrid and Nualia. He then parts the waters to create a path he can stride through.

From the back of her hippogriff, Amelia casts sound burst to stun one of the crocodiles. Astrid attacks the night belly boa, but ends up splashing down into the water below. While the crocodile floats stunned and Astrid splashes about in her heavy plate, Nualia finds herself snared in the giant snake’s coils. She claws at it with her demonic hand. The schoolchildren flee to the edge of the roof.

Marcus tries to evacuate civilians by carrying them in his enlarged form. He sees his cart floating by.

Astrid brings down one of the crocodiles, while Zavian and Lea stride towards the fray through the unnatural dry path through the water. The final crocodiles are slain, while Nualia fights off the snake. Zavian uses the full extent of his control water spell to create dry passages between all the houses so the village can evacuate. Lea revives the crocodile victim snatched from the rowboat.

Nualia chases down and kills the nightbelly boa. She has Vivi begin skinning the corpse, but presents the head to the Varisian girl Veska.

As the floodwaters recede, the party regroups at the town church where the residents are sheltering. Zavian reunites with Nualia and they step into a quiet corner where he shares what he has learned of his true heritage. The other aasimar is impressed, and more than a little curious, by the revelation. This does not prevent the couple from finding an even quieter space in the temple to become more intimately reacquainted, while Vivi stands as lookout.

Fireday, 15 Kuthona, 4733

The following morning, the party moves on to investigate the missing ranger commander Lamatar Bayden. They take an eerie ride across Claybottom lack on the Turtleback Ferry, which deposits them on the shores of the Shimmerglens. The superstitious ferryman warned them of strange lights in the swamp at night. The place is known to be home to fey creatures and other, stranger things. Left on their own, the adventurers wade into the muck. Marcus and Amelia, however, ride on a floating disk that trails after Lea.

Not far into the Shimmerglens, the adventurers are approached by a distracted pixie called Yap. He explains that his mistress Myriana is not well and that her sickness is tainting the land. Yap begs the party to aid her and eagerly leads them deeper into the swamp.

Nualia, Vivi, and Idun part ways with the Rune Wardens as the aasimar’s vision quest takes her west into Sanos Forest. She once again tells Zavian that she’s not finished with him.

In the heart of the Shimmerglens, the party comes across a mysterious sea-going ship, hundreds of miles from the ocean. While Lea and Amelia wait below with Yap, the rest of the adventurers climb into the hulk to investigate. Amelia takes the time to scrawl “Amelia Orisini was here” on the side of the ship, which otherwise has no legible markings.

Aboard the abandoned ship, they find the long-dead and not-quite-human captain seated at a piano, as well as astoundingly original sheet music. Nearby are some maps of utterly alien coasts. When they emerge onto the deck, they spy a weird dog that disappears into the forest. The music is passed onto Amelia, and the journey continues.

Deep into the cursed grove of Whitewillow, the party comes across a dead dryad hanging halfway out of a tree. The corpse whispers to them.

“She should not have fallen in love—her heart brought this upon us—why won’t she let us go?”

The adventurers are filled with resolve to free the grove from the curse.

They finally reach a placid pool, from which emerges the furious ghost of the nymph Myriana. She explains that ogres ambushed her and her beloved Lamatar. The ranger commander was taken back to the Kreeg stronghold in Hook Mountain. She is certain that Lamatar is dead, but her powers cannot revive him. She demands that they retrieve a piece of Lamatar and return it to her so that her magic can restore him to life. Figuring that this is the best way to put the ghost to rest, the adventurers agree, with Lea personally promising to return Lamatar to her.

The party then presses north, skirting the edge of the Shimmerglens and crossing over into the Kreegwood before reaching the foothills of Hook Mountain. In the Valley of Broken Trees, they encounter a strange hill giant named Razmus.

Sunday, 16 Kuthona, 4733

The unusually intelligent and well-spoken Razmus has claimed the valley as his own territory. He wants no trouble with the Black Arrows and does not care for the Kreeg ogres, who are pawns in Mokmurian’s army. Razmus explains that Mokmurian is a stone giant leader who is rallying an army at the forbidden fortress of Jorgenfist in the Iron Peaks. Razmus led a clan of hill giants until he was abandoned by his people, even his own children, who sought to join Mokmurian’s growing army. Razmus knows that Mokmurian will ultimately fail to overcome the small folk, and doesn’t want to be caught in the crossfire.

After getting information about the Kreeg clanhold, the Rune Wardens write a letter of endorsement of Razmus and send him back to Fort Rannick to earn the locals’ trust by helping rebuild the fort.

After the encounter with Razmus, the adventurers catch up with the elves Shalelu and Galodar who they’d sent to scout ahead. The elves corroborate Razmus’ information about the Kreeg defenses.

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