WORK IN PROGRESS
This story started much like any other, within a tavern full of people.
In the bustling small town of Springold, Ser Griswald of Erethond was sitting in a tavern named the Wailing Wench as a rabble of unsavory characters started making trouble. Being the cheeky servant of the law that he is, Ser Griswald set out to start a fight with these rabble-rousers. As the combat began, an Elven Cleric of the God Zajun named Serigold Glassheart decided to step in and help the paladin who was clearly outnumbered. As he stepped forth and lent his aid to Ser Griswald, as did some other interesting characters within the tavern walls. Those who joined Griswald that day were Serigold the Cleric of Life, Synthia Rosenoir the Wizard, and Gustavo Kingsberry II the Chef, and John Carpenter the Warrior. After the defeat of the ruffians within the Tavern, those few who rallied together against the ruffians decided they quite liked one another’s company and decided to travel together.
The morning after, Ser Griswald revealed to his fellow party members that he intended to travel to the Kingdom of Darehan’s Silverkeep Castle, as he had business to attend to there. After making his intentions clear, he invited any among them to join him in this endeavor. Those present eagerly agreed to get on the road and see new places, and they set off. Once on the road, they were beset by many dangers. The first of which came in the form of an offer. The party was traveling along the road when a troupe of businessmen attempted to sell them some elixirs, which they claimed would bring vast benefits and longer life. Suddenly, out from a bottom compartment of their cart burst out a dwarf – who later the party came to know as Darrik “The Lone Wolf” Dankil.
This dwarf was stark naked, and bruised and beaten. Soon as their escapee got free, the businessmen revealed their true nature – doppelgangers! They attempted to subdue the party and put them up to the same fate as the dwarf and any who came before him, but the party was victorious in defeating them. The dwarf made an impressive display of his battle prowess despite being in the nude and unarmed. A quick search of the area revealed to the party that the Dwarf’s belongings were nearby, as were the belongings of their previous victims. Darrik decided to join up with the party, and after the party helped themselves to that which the deceased no longer needed, they moved on along the road. As the hours and days of the week passed that they were traveling, they encountered some fellow travelers that were heading to the town of Springold who told them of a cave with mysteriously beautiful waterfalls that was rumored to be nearby.
As they moved ever forward towards Silverkeep Castle, they happened across a trail that led away from the main road, and decided to investigate it. After trekking the winding path, a clearing opened up – one of strange nature. The clearing was full of statues, some almost submerged in the earth below, some halfway there, and some still standing strong. These statues seemed eerily life-like, standing in place like they were frozen in time. Darrik took the liberty of finding one that was standing upon the grass, knocking it over and breaking it for fun. There stood a woman in the clearing, more beautiful than most there had ever seen. After a brief exchange of words and a few insults between her and Darrik, she decided to tag along with the party, as she believed the waterfalls they’d heard rumors about were in the area ahead, and she desperately wanted to revel in their beauty.
Moving ever forward up the path, they eventually reached the caves. The caves seemed harmless enough at first, but the party was shocked as they moved further into it – a trail of blood ran down into a small passage on one of the cave walls. Darrik Dankil decided to go through the crawlspace with blood running into it, despite obvious danger and the advice of the rest of the party. Darrik found himself sliding upon smooth stone in a downhill fashion, until he found himself rolled out into an opening. As he looked up, quite the sight was before him – those mysteriously beautiful waterfalls the travelers told them about. He stood up, covered in dirt and the blood from crawlspace, and yelled out to his fellow party members letting them know that the way was clear and that there was no danger.
The party then made their way down the caverns and into the opening where the waterfalls were. They were more beautiful than any waterfall those within the party had seen before – something they decided to marvel over. While those in the party discussed the mysteries of the waterfall among one another, the dwarf decided to take his loincloth off and toss his maul aside and bathe under the waterfall to wash all the dirt and blood off. The party talked and talked, and explored the surrounding area with their eyes, glancing all about. Suddenly enough – everyone noticed the dwarf was gone. Much to everyone’s horror, they hear rustling and unnervingly disgusting sounds coming from up above. The dwarf was above, caught in the tendrils of a maddeningly ugly creature – a Grell. It was making every attempt to swallow him whole or at least take a bite out of him. He was fighting it at every turn, punching it in it’s fat beak again and again. All at once, a pack of three abhorrent Grell fell upon the party from the ceiling of the caverns, and began their attack! The three Grell engaged the rest of the party directly, while the other stayed up top trying to eat the dwarf.
The battle that ensued was a long and hard one, where poor Serigold fell prey to the Grell. The three Grell had been felled, and the last one standing was the one having a contest of blows with the dwarf. Once again stark naked and weaponless, Darrik was going toe-to-toe with a Grell, punching it recklessly. Serigold was bleeding out, near death’s door. The Wizard Synthia Rosenoir decided to take a knee and tend to the Life Cleric’s wounds. She waved a hand of healing over him, but it was too late. Serigold was dead. John Carpenter, Serigold’s sworn protector, was absolutely dismayed at his death. Thanks to his failure to protect him, he set his sword upon the ground, blade up, and threw himself upon it in an attempt to make up for his mistake with his life. The Wizard Synthia decided it was not his time yet. She used her magic to spare his life and stop his bleeding, and told him he would now live for her in order to regain his honor.
As things cleared up and the Grell were finally defeated… Griswald seemed more dismayed and serious than he did whilst fighting the Grell. He turned the corner and applied a poison he looted from the doppelganger elixir cons-men earlier upon the venture, and he coated his blade with the concoction. He then stepped forward towards Synthia Rosenoir and drew his blade on her, demanding she answer for her crimes. She seemed genuinely confused at his accusations, as did the rest of the party. Griswald came forth and revealed that he was able to recognize precisely what she actually did to Serigold. “You killed him. You had no intention of sparing his life. You disguised your incantation as one of healing and restoration, but it was the very thing that finished him off!” Griswald proclaimed. It turned out that Synthia Rosenoir disguised a Inflict Wounds spell as a Spare The Dying spell, thinking no one would notice.
John Carpenter decided to step out between Griswald and Synthia Rosenoir. He told Griswald that if he wanted to lay a finger upon the Wizard, that he would have to go through him. So without a moment’s notice, Griswald took his blade and struck John Carpenter with a thunderous divine smite. A mixture of holy energy and the poison which coated Griswald’s blade struck down the Warrior in a single blow. Griswald then stepped forth towards Synthia, who became ever more defensive and desperate. He struck her and struck her, until she was bleeding out and near death, before he demanded a confession from her. Through all the pain, she confessed that she killed Serigold, and that she took pleasure in doing so. She came forth about her hatred for life clerics and what they do, and even revealed that she is an aspiring necromancer. After receiving her confession, Griswald decided to break every one of her fingers, both of her arms, and then he proceeded to burn her spellbook. “At least as a woman, you can still use your tongue!” Griswald cried out to her in anger. Griswald then attempted to make John Carpenter see reason and to see why he shouldn’t have protected her, but John Carpenter stubbornly refused Griswald’s advice and asked to be left to whatever fate the necromancer was.
After deciding to leave those two for dead, the party moved forward back onto the trail they took and back to the road to Silverkeep. On the way, they encountered even more trouble, this time in the form of mimicries. Kenku bandits swooped from the trees and ambushed the party. Gustavo and Griswald made short work of the Kenku bandits. They left one alive for questioning, and they asked it questions before executing it on the spot. What it revealed to them was that they were hired by some Goblins and Hobgoblins to take travelers on the road. Gustavo took it upon himself to make a grisly costume out of one of their corpses. Griswald and Gustavo pressed forward into the Goblin camp far up the road, with the plan of putting a halt to their operation. Griswald decided to sneak around the camp to get a better view of what the Goblins and Hobgoblins were up to, while Gustavo created a distraction from the front of their camp.
As Gustavo caught the attention of the camp by walking up with a grisly disfigured kenku costume, Griswald’s attempt to sneak into the vicinity of the camp was successful. Before fighting the goblins, Gustavo doffed the gruesome costume and threw the skull of the kenku forward to the goblins who were pulling out their shortbows to shoot him, intimidating them successfully. Their shots were shaky and misplaced, and Gustavo made a slaughter out of them. Meanwhile, Gustavo hid under a caged cart full of prisoners, and as many goblins ran to help against the commotion, Griswald sprung from under the cart and stabbed the Hobgoblin leader, initiating combat on another end of the camp.
As Griswald had a deadly match with the Hobgoblins within the camp, he decidedly opened the cage that was on the cart he was hiding under, letting the prisioners of the Hobgoblins and Goblins fight for their freedom. As they poured forward and began to fight, so did something more sinister. A man endowed with blue glowing runes sprung out of one of the cages. Shooting flames from his hands, he burned both innocent prisioner and Goblin alike.