Harbingers in the Night
That night the party decides to move everyone to the courtyard next to the fire. The party feared they weren’t the only ones who knew about the entrance to the fortress through the grotto and wanted to be able to both defend themselves or escape if needed and it was agreed the courtyard offered the best possibility for both. While Ellimune and Yarrion healed the party decided to explore the fortress a little better than they were able be fore the battle.
A forge is found in the courtyard with tools and a fire still burning in it. Next to the forge a set of stairs allowing access to the roof of the fortress is also found. The party decides to investigate. Upon reaching the roof it is seen that just outside the fortress wall is an area of cultivated land that the party decides the inhabitants of the fortress must work. On the roof is found a small structure. Alidana and Alanna decide to investigate the structure while Aranel and Argus search the rest of the roof.
Upon entering the structure Alanna hears what sounds like sobbing coming from a back circular room. Investigation finds 3 Hobgoblin females and 6 small Hobgoblin children hiding, one of the women is armed with a spear but looks rather nervous about using it. Aranel and Argus are called in to decide what to do. After some discussion the woman is persuaded to lay down the spear and the group is herded to the courtyard and put in the pit in the ground for holding. Further investigation of the structure turn up a large book with pages of green granite. The cover is emblazoned with a anvil design and the whole book is written in the same writing as the map the party found. It is decided that Aranel will use a spell the next day to figure out what the book says. The book was found in a desk with candles and a half full ink well on it. During the altercation with the women and children Argus also came across a slip of paper with a strange grouping of numbers on it. The party talked about what the numbers could be but couldn’t come up with any definitive answer that made sense.
On the roof is also found an area covered in bird feces and holding 4 small cages with feathers in them.
The next morning Yarrion was back on his feet while Ellimune remained unconscious from her wounds. Yarrion asked Alanna and Alidana to fetch water from the well in the grotto below the fortress. While pulling up the bucket the women noticed a small leather pouch attached just above the bucket on the chain. Opening it revealed a letter from someone calling them self, “I Rusco” which they quickly noticed as “The Fox” in the Elven language, addressed to a “Captain Grunnuk”. The girls showed the letter to the rest of the party. The party realized everything the letter talked about was their recent exploits and hinted at an active traitor to Sanctuary that boasts about having knowledge of Sanctuary’s defenses, and having been responsible for alerting the Hobgoblins to the arrival of Biard and Ardon, the ambush that cost Ardon Tinvesy his life. The party asks Yarrion if he knows of anyone who called themselves “The Fox” but he had never heard of the moniker.
The rest of the day is spent exploring the rest of the area. The party finds and abandoned sawmill that seems to have once been powered by a now defunct watermill. The cultivated area they saw the night before turns out to be barren and looks as though it hasn’t been cared for in some time. At the northern most part of the fortress grounds a strange formation of small pillars is found, the center one of which has a small hole in it which is holding a battle standard with a painting of what looks to be a single dragon’s wing. Just beyond the pillars under the surface of the water can be seen a large vent that looks to be drawing the water of the river into it self. These pillars and vent seem to split the river and cause it to go over two separate falls just beyond the fortress. Aranel tries to remove the battle standard but upon doing so a large grating noise can be heard deep in the vent and the water level begins to rise at an alarming rate. Aranel and the party are quickly waist high in water when she replaces the standard, the grating noise can again be heard and after a short time the river subsides.
That night while on watch Aranel believes she sees a man wearing a “bird mask” watching her from across the river, but it is snowing and before she knows it he simply vanishes leaving no trace behind.
The next day while the party is discussing the mysterious note and Aranel’s encounter during the night a horn blast can be heard from the twin bridges, the party freezes not knowing what to do. They decide to ascend to the roof to get a better look and spy what looks to be a hunting party of 4 hobgoblins returning to the fortress with a fresh kill. The Hobgoblins do not advance to the fortress as their horn call was not answered. After a few moments Yarrion decides to release the Hobgoblin children to the hunting party, stating that he wouldn’t stand by and allow children to be held captive. The hunting party collects the children and goes back to the cover of the trees.
The day after the party decides to fish in the river and manage to catch a few fish. Rocor the Centaur returns stating that his village looks to have been attacked and everyone slain. He agrees to fight with the Sanctuarians against the Hobgoblins that he believes are responsible for the slaughter of his people. Aranel manages to cast a “Read Languages” spell on the granite book and finds that it is a Dwarven holy book outlining the creation of the Earth by the Gods.
Aranel also decides to use a “Comprehend Languages” spell to interrogate one of the female prisoners. She finds out that the woman is Captain Grunnuk’s mate and she says the Captain told her he’d be gone for a “Moon Cycle” she also reports that the Captain received messages by bird that he read at his desk. She has no knowledge of the secret entrance in the grotto below the fortress nor of anyone calling themselves the Fox.
The next day sees the party getting a little antsy about when their reinforcements will arrive or whether the Hobgoblins will arrive first. During the day Argus comes to the conclusion that the Dwarven Holy Book found by the party is a cipher used to decode the message they found on the roof. After some stumbling the message is able to be read. The first number of the code corresponds to the Chapter number while the second number is the letter on the page that should be used. After a time the message is decoded to read, “Meet us at the Lakehome after next moon cycle” the party isn’t sure how long ago this message was received.
Nothing else passes for 4 days until on the morning of the 4th day the party is hailed by Malius Manatonk from just outside the Fortress gates. The reinforcements have arrived, they are Malius, his nephew Malil Manatonk, Firrian Tinvesy and Rucryn Cherros. The party relays all the information and conclusions they’ve come to and the story of how they took the fortress to the new comers. Firrian begins taking stock of the fortress and figures out how they will attempt to defend it and where they will fall back to should they fail.
While showing Malius the grotto he becomes fascinated with the stone chest the party found and have been unsuccessful in opening. He asks to be left alone with it and after a few hours comes to the courtyard with his hair smoking for some unknown reason and retrieves a pair of metal forceps from the forge. A few hours after that he relays that he’s been successful in opening the chest. Inside he finds two pair of large stone shoes with tie downs and a stone bell of some sort. It’s decided that these must be used to descend the stairs in the grotto that go under water. Aranel volunteers to try it.
Aranel descends the dark stair and after some time finds an opening in the wall and enters. She emerges from the water in a pitch dark passage that has a strange blue glow coming from in front of her, she walks towards it until it begins to form itself into a 15 foot tall man made of stone with glowing blue eyes and a glowing blue line on his chest. Aranel decides to drop the stone walking devices and swims to the surface and relates what she’s found to the others.
|A Dish Best Served Cold||Knock…Knock|