After taking on the dragon cult known as the Disciples of the Divine Flame and slaying the great adult dragon Sawback we rejoin our four heroes, Bers played by Jenn, Vorwulf and his protégé Draznor both played by Cris, and Grom the shaman played by Gil as they check out the lair. The lair consisted of 4 massive chambers with domed ceilings from whence iron chandeliers were suspended and finely honed & polished walls. The central entrance chamber was the largest with large archways connecting to the other 3 chambers. There was a small hoard pile in the south archway consisting of 5,000 malachite, 2,000 alexandrite, 4,000 gold pieces, 2,000 silver pieces, 600 star metal ingots, 5 suits of high quality lion-skin soft leather armor (2 of which Vorwulf took for himself), 2 high quality bronze pectoral plates, a hammer (which they took as it was probably more than just a hammer), and a set of steel bracers with iolite rivets. The walls had niches dug into them which sheltered large gold oil lamps which appeared to glow with magic flames. There were bags and chests in the northwest corner and 2 hogshead of fine southern wine and 6 amphora of olive oil in the northeast corner. They took account of the bags and chests.
There was 1 large alligator skin sack, 1 large lion-skin sack, 1 large leather sack, 1 vulture-lion hide sack, 1 rhino-hide sack covered with decorative runes, and 1 large purple velvet sack. There were 3 chests which were 1 orange metal chest, a mother of pearl chest with a blue steel lock, and a titanium chest with quartz hardware. None of the chests were locked and the sacks were each filled to bursting. The treasure contained within is simply too much to list here but Bers took an ebony barrette with decorative runes for herself and all non-healing/curing potions were given to the shaman and he put on a string of amber prayer beads. Each of the three senior slayers took possession of a chest, Vorwulf the orange-metal chest, Bers the Mother of Pearl of chest and Grom the titanium chest with quartz hardware. They followed a careful process while sifting through and splitting up shares of the treasure by having Grom make use of his Repel Vermin spell to keep the swarms of gold scarabs at bay which eventually dispersed. The north chamber was lined with shelves sagging with 5 booklots and some potions & spell powders. On the bare portion of the wall hung an adamantine chest plate and a high quality star metal shield. A high quality bloodmetal suit of full plate armor was standing next to the shelves. The south chamber appeared to be a scrying chamber with a large scrying pool and a large circular polished-silver mirror. The large pile of loot consisted of 1,000 high quality garnets, 4,000 superior quality diamonds, 3,000 citrines, 4,000 rubies, 1,000 pieces of coral, 2,000 pieces of agate, 200,000 gold pieces, 600,000 electrum pieces, 300,000 steel pieces, 100,000 star metal pieces, 1,000 steel ingots, 600 bronze pigs, and 10 large superior quality rubies. Needless to say taking even a small portion of the booty would prove to be a feat of logistics.
They figured out a method of setting up a series of rope pulleys and a combination of using Bers’ Cape of Bat-Flight and Grom’s Nature’s Ability spell allowing him to grow wings. They took the treasure out by the upper entrance onto the top of Hirok. They managed about 3 sacks and all 3 chests their bags of holding were already fully loaded. They woefully stood inspecting the mirror-polished vault door unable to figure out how to gain entrance though they did spy a maker’s mark etched into one of the bottom corners resembling a conical mountain surrounded by a moat and a dragon with wings outstretched above the pinnacle.
Later the next afternoon after a good rest and the gathering of their shares of the treasure they mounted a level-top hill next to the top entrance of the lair finding a pair of ruined towers with a sink hole next to them where the ground had collapsed into some earthen tunnels and chambers. They buried their chests under the shadows of the broken towers each burying their own with their own hands with Draznor helping Vorwulf of course. That completed they decided to retreat to Fertum Vorahd via the North Road for a well-deserved rest. From the Fertum they decided they would travel to Chago come early spring as it was now late summer and they knew it would take at least 1 season to reach the coastal city.
Come spring they left Fertum Vorahd following the West Road passing between the skeletal remains of the Varidvir and Varid Woods as they traveled into Varidna the wheels on both of their wagons creaking all the way. They had a covered wagon for travel and their open wagon packed with rolls of Sawback’s tanned hide and a healthy stow of dragon-bone. They continued west for 2 weeks until they reached the town of Anaster where they had a 1 week stopover then continued for 4 weeks to the town of Wenbaer where they had another 1 week stopover. They continued from Wenbaer for 3 weeks until they came to the fishing town of Corvik and the ocean.
They spent the first night on the beach as it was the first time any of them had seen the ocean. The shaman stepped into the foaming waters, “it’s glorious!” His arms were outstretched Gil miming this at the table. He then cast the Swim As Fish spell on himself and dove in determined to swim as deep as he could.
Cris: “Watch it man! Don’t go too deep.”
After a few minutes Grom had gone very deep under the salty waters and caught a glimpse of something very big swimming below him. Bers and Vorwulf saw the shaman shoot from the water and run back up onto the beach pointing back at the water.
Grom: “There’s something down there!”
Bers and Vorwulf laughed while Grom marched back to the wagons where Draznor was guarding the gear. The next night Grom cooked a bunch of mud-worms while the locals, who all had heavy unidentifiable accents, looked on and were surprised when he had an edible meal that actually tasted as well as smelling tasty (Natural 20 on his Cooking skill). Normally the grey slimy slugs taste like mud and smell worse. Of course, the rest of the slayers refused that meal and stuck with the fish stew. After a 1 week stopover in Corvik or rather Corvir as the Westlander farmers further inland called it they followed the road as it turned south across the Corvir Moor and into the Corvast Plain into Chago’s sphere of influence. It was slow going up the Chago Rise but it was easy going across the Weisha Plateau, through the Chago Forest and ultimately into the city itself. They had to stop and gawk in awe at the massively high stone walls of the city the highest they had ever seen that were not in a completely ruined state.
It was still early summer as they passed through the massive gates. It had taken 3 and a half months of travel between the Ivoran city of Chago and Hirok-Nor. The banners wafting from the battlements on either side of the gates displayed a turquoise peacock on a red field with a golden heart in the top right corner and a bundle of black arrows tied with a white string beneath the bird. They could see even before they entered a cloud of low hanging smog hovering over the city and they could smell the place long before they could even see it. They joined a flood of other caravans and wagons entering the city mixing into the river of flowing faces that crowded the avenue the chief commercial artery of the city from which all other streets diverge. There were a multitude of faces, the bristly goatish faces of fauns from the Hill-Lands, the flash of a darting ratling, the dusky faces of Creschan sailors, an occasional Arborean with a baffled expression, the sun-baked faces of the southron, the yellow tint of Hyvalian visages caked with cosmetics and draped in fine silks strung with beads all melded together into a cacophony of color, clattering hooves, grinding wagon wheels on the paving stones and general noise. They passed between two high plateaus of stone which jutted up inside of the city walls before the land suddenly dropped to the natural sea-cliff bounded harbor providing the highest vantage points in the city. On the flat pinnacle of one a large manor house the noble residence of the King of Chago surrounded on varying lower levels by the smaller houses of miscellaneous nobility. On the other formation sat the manor-complex of the Hierophant of Chago and the Hyvalian priesthood. Below its spires stabbing into the sky built higher than any other building in the city stood the Cathedral of the Hyvalian Theocracy. The stone faces were carved with the gigantic depictions of ancient Westlander warriors and warlords carrying aloft bundles of severed heads and walking on the decapitated corpses of their long forgotten enemies centuries worn and pocked with the nesting of sea birds. The land began to slope sharply and the avenue widened as they made their way to the waterfront. They found themselves in the city marketplace where the street was lined with booths in which all of the trades were represented. Shops and offices occupied most of the buildings that were here and almost all were of 3 or 4 stories tall most made of wood with tile roofs built in the Hyvalian pagoda style others were very square, only 2 levels high and built of quarried stone blocks of varying dimensions. The multitude of voices blended into a constant and overwhelming white noise over which could be heard the regular shouts, bids and bargaining common to the market. The group found they had to shout at each other or get close enough to talk directly into each other’s ears in order to be heard.
Cris: “Oh man, Dead-Eye would’ve hated this place!”
To Be Continued…