BAND OF IRONS

More Snow, More Woe

The group does not feel they are lost, and continue traveling mostly blind in the mist. It begins to snow again, and as before leaflets of paper fall from the sky.

Point A is broken
The light, it should be backward
Danger is increased to 4
The HOLLOW BEAST approaches

The group thinks for a minute, trying to make heads or tales of the note, then continues moving. A moon seems to materialize, low on the horizon and the heat lightning continues to flash in the mist.

the group argues whether to head toward or away form the light, away wins out. Screams are heard in the mist ahead, the group takes defensive positions and waits as the scream nears. There is a Drow running full tilt, Tiberious bashes him with his shield as another comes from in the mist, soon felled by Tiberious’ axe.

Two more Drow see Tiberious and turn to flee, the group cuts them down, they looked to be terrified, something could have been chasing them. None of them have cold weather gear on, one is even bootless. As the group adds the Drow weapons to the portable hole it begins to snow again, leaflets falling along with snow.

The Iron pages are blank
Make a decision in the minutes given you
Energy level 3
The HOLLOW BEAST hungers

More speculation about the notes. Is there a time limit? Is there a countdown? They slog off into the mist still following the “moon” Tiberious again kicks a dead body, this time a skeleton, here a long time. Nearby there is a literal mound of skeletons, sitting on and around a small island rising slightly from the water, rusted armor and broken weapons. The group begins looking the scene over….

It begins to snow again, leaflets fall from the sky

Broken Flowers line the path
Don’t listen to your eyes
Danger Level 2
The HOLLOW BEAST sees you

Vinny finds dozens of black roses growing on the mound covered in the dead. Helm is ready to turn undead, worried the skeletons will rise. The black roses are growing in a line, they assume these are the “broken flowers” that the note tells of. They follow the line of flowers, away from the “moon” which still hangs in the sky. Worried that the numbers in the last few notes 4,3,2….are a countdown. They slog off into the mist

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A Night in Zulern, then down into the snow

The group spends a night in town with the idea that they will fortify Coldstone and use it as a base of operations in the Underdark. They still aren’t sure if the overworld and the under dark are directly above and below each other. There was the quake like shifting of the under dark when they were down there.

The next day the group has met back at the teleport cave and heads back below. Tiberius has brought stone working tools with the idea of salvaging bricks from one area of the castle to fill the hole in the wall. Lowering the portcullis and making it generally secure.

The group also decides to recon the area around Coldstone. See if there are any areas that are of a concern nearby……They find one almost immediately.

The group encounters a fog that swirls up for all sides obscuring even the dark vision of the demi-humans Blue Heat Lightning crackles quietly around, lighting the mists, but not providing anything but another level of confusion as it bursts from dark to light.

Tiberius in the lead kicks a body. There is a leather clad short stout figure lying face down in the water, 3 crossbow bolts sticking from his back. Rolling him over, its a dwarf, with ashen grey skin and beard. “Druegar” Tiberious says, “grey dwarf of the under dark, wicked and evil”

The Druegar body hasn’t been here more than a day, the bolts are Drow and he has tattoos indicating he has been exiled from Druegar society. Someone says ’what’s this?" Everyone notices that it has begun to snow.

Thick flat clumps of light grey snow are falling about, then someone notices that there are also pieces of paper scattering themselves about, and it has writing on it.

Swords may be the answer
proceed to oint A
Beware!
The HOLLOW BEAST has awakened

The group is moving in a widening circle about Coldstone, thinking they know the way they are traveling. The snow stops and they trudge for another 10 minutes.

ZIP, CLANK! A spear comes from out of the mist and deflects off Tiberious armor, there is a shout and 4 hulking figures rush at you from the mist. They are shouting and swinging Pick Axes. Their 8 foot tall giant bodies, grey with long beards….some type of ‘smallish’ giant?

The 8 foot tall attackers, fight the group mercilessly, but Tiberious axe fells one as does magic missiles and Vinny moving around to backstab one…..As the bodies fall into the water, they shrink in size, back to about 3.5 get tall. Druegar, grey dwarves, but with the ability to double their size.

The group gathers the dwarves weapons into the portable hole. The Druegar look to be similar to the dead one found earlier, tattoos of banishment

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Teleport Station

As the flames die on the tree, reducing it significantly, there is a stone pedestal with a round surface. The Round Top is divided into 7 segments, like pizza slices. One segment has a mauve triangle stone in it.

Helm removes the stone. The group watches Helm vanish. Helm is in a cave, the others are gone. Thick Vines hang at the cave mouth and he smells fresh air. Moving the vines he sees Zulern in the distance. There is a similar round stone here, he tries the triangle stone in different indentations, but it only fits in one. BANG! he is back with the rest of the group at the Coldstone.

Alynis contacts Rotcod’ohw and askes about the device. He informs her it si a simple teleportation device, the stones are keys and are “keyed” to take you to just one location. The group has to join hands to all get to the cave.

They can now travel between Zulern and Coldstone. They will fortify Coldstone so they can travel back and forth

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Plant Monster and Barrels of Arrows

With Helm’s light spell leading, Turok, Helm and Alynis move to the turret nearest the stable. On the gourd floor there is nothing,just a stone stair rising to the second floor. Halfway up the stair, they notice tendrils of vegetation. It is more green than grey, the first thing they’ve seen that isn’t grey grey grey.

In the 2nd floor of this 30×30 tower is a HUGE dull green tree like plant of some sorts. Tendrils snake in all directions, headed out through every opening. The “tree” is 5 feet wide with tendrils and pods and stalks dotting every portion of it.

A vine lashes out at Turok and he is able to smash at it with his axe. Something grabs Helm from behind and everyone hears the clatter as Helm tumbles down the stairs. Rushing to his aid Alynis and Turok see a vague humanoid shape, composed of green blobs, attacking Helm. Magic Missiles from Alynis drive it away it runs into the courtyard where Kvothe sends an arrow through it, scattering the green blobs as the figure looses cohesion…the blobs do not reform

Helm Sacred Flames the bush on the second floor.

Kvothe and Storm have found the other tower to be in bad shape, seemingly ready to fall over. There is nothing inside except for barrels full of rotted arrows.

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Water Monsters

“NO!” Valen screams as Turok tosses the helpless captive into the water. Valen struggles against his bonds but starts to sink. Several seconds later nothing has occurred. Storm secures his gear and jumps into the water with a dagger, he ends the life of Valen with a slash to the throat, and climbs out…..

Helm Turok and Alynis move toward one of the turrets, while Kvothe and Storm head to the other. Vinny has swum down and found a tunnel in the well, a tunnel that leads to an area with a air trapped inside. Tiberius is still at his watch, fear inside him that the Mnd Flayer would return.

No one notices the slight turbulence in the water as the “monster” greedily receives Valen’s corpse.

Vinny emerges in a crumbling basement room, there is air here. He has swam up through a hole in the floor, which has a few inches of water on it. Vinny notices an eerie slime of bubbles moving toward him, he moves quickly away from it….into a room next door that is in better shape. There is a door frame that sticks above the water, the bubbling slime can not get by.

This area stinks of rotted fish and urine. Vinny notices several rotted barrels, some containing slime and fish bones. There is a short hallway, which clearly has another flooded hole in the floor, maybe access to some other underwater area.

There is a room on the other side, a workbench of some sort and nests of vegetation. Vinny jumps water hole to look over the room. Once in the room he finds two Hobgoblin bodies, both of their mouths torn asunder, their brains removed like the woman above.

These Hobgoblins are different though, they have fish like gill slits on the dies of their necks, Vinny surmises they are some sort of Aquatic Hobgoblin. Just then there is a commotion at the water hole. Something is crawling out, Vinny ducks into the shadows.

A Hobgoblin surfaces and is dragging a body, tied to a chair, Vinny waits until the Hobgoblin is fully vested in raising the body out of the water and BACKSTABS the Hobgoblin who dies quickly. Vinny investigates the rest of the room.

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Helm Wicked Evil Helm

Helm has lost his patience, he removes the last of the “flash bang” flasks from his pack and forces it between Nell, the prisoner’s legs.

Vinny takes this opportunity to sneak out while everyone is watching the interrogation, he moves toward the well in the courtyard, knowing that there has to be more to this complex. He secures his gear and dives into the well……

Meanwhile Helm is describing what the flask does to Nell. Helm then drags the chair with the man tied in the chair to the balcony and lifts him onto the thick rock railing. He holds the chair, but angles it toward the edge, “I will send you over the side if you don’t start talking!” Helm’s voice is low and gruff.

Helm: What is your real name? (tips chair)

Nell: Valen it’s Valen

Helm: What are you doing down here? (tips chair)

Valen: I told you, we came for some cloak. Our leader Mataya said it would bring us favor with Iuz (Helm can see the Iuz themed tattoos on this guys arm)

Helm: How did you get here

Valen: Through a tunnel in the Gnarley Forest (He’s already told you that)

Kvothe and Aramnd have assisted Turok in getting out of the water, they turn to see a man tied to a chair, balanced on the edge of the balcony, being menaced by Helm. They then see Vinny climb into the well. Tiberius is still vigilantly watching out the back window, and doesn’t fully know what is going on.

Helm: Where is your HELM gear, you were masquerading as Knights of HELM why?

Valen: The gear is at The Bear Trap we have rooms there. Rubes, if you look like you are goody-goodies, then the locals will be nice to you, give you info. Same reason you are masquerading as a HELM……(Valen’s voice trails off, Helm sees it in his eyes that he realizes that Helm is not masquerading, and is really in HELM’S service. Valen’s eyes grow wide….)

Helm: I don’t think we need a second group down here anymore….

Non of the other characters seem to care that Helm lets Valen, tied to the chair, fall into the courtyard. Valen tries to twist his body and succeeds in missing striking the stone well. But he still lands with a thud. The chair breaks, but he is still secure, his head above water.

Helm comes down, “Turok if you throw this guy in the pool, you think that monster would get him?” Helm turns to go back upstairs and Turok grabs the chair bound Valen, and tosses him into the brackish water of the submerged basement…..

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Commotion in the Ocean

Those along side the water are struggling with ideas on how to assist the barbarian fighting below its surface, Kvothe is readying Ray of Frost, Storm has Moonbeam ready, feeling that Turok can take the damage, and they will heal him later.

Turok hacks at the arm holding him and it releases! The others see Turok break the surface panting and trying to get a breath. Turok begins dragon himself out of the water Storm rushes away to tell the others what is going on.

Mourning Storm walks into the room and states matter of factly, “There’s something in the water in the courtyard, it tried to eat the barbarian, but I think it got a taste of him and spit him out, but In all fairness, it might have been sexual- I’ve never understood barbarian mating customs…”

Vinny looks at the prisoner and says “maybe we should give out new friend to whatever is in the water.”

Helm is thinking about the exploding flasks that you captured from the Rumble Arrows long ago….

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Tiberius Tells More Mind Flayer Tales

Those in the room seem to not care about the noise outside, that and enough of the group is now out there investigating

Tiberious relates is that Mid Flayers usually control a group of thralls/salves that it has manipulated their brains to serve it. Thralls have limited free will and are manipulated to believe that they serve the Mind Flayer by choice. Mind Flayer also keep zombie like slaves and humanoids as cattle for feeding

Mind Flayers will let those thralls do the fighting, killing, finding treasure for them , and when confronted with tough adversaries, leave lettign the thralls sacrifice themselves so it can retreat.

Although none of you feel as though you were manipulated by Zarlag, Tiberious story makes you fear that you may have been

There is a shout from outside “We’ve got a fight out here”

Tiberius continues as you are more interested in the tale and feel those outside can take care of themselves. Tiberius says Illithids live in a hive like society ruled by a central brain. THe central brain has all the memories and powers of all teh illtiad who have died within the colony. Dead illithid brains are brought to the central brain to become one with it. The longer a colony has been around the more powerful and knowledgeable it is. The hive mind like brain has control over all from the colony as they are all related much like bees in a hive all come from one queen.

Destroying the hive brain will not destroy the flock, but it would make them unstable (possibly worse) as the colony would fragment into a multitude of wandering, brain eating, squid-heads with no purpose.

Mind Flayers are an odd lot when it comes to those colonies. They are pragmatic and will establish normal relations with colonies of other beings they feel too powerful to control like the Drow and Druegar (Grey Dwarves) They have an especially good relation with the Drow due to both being slave societies and the Drow having no trouble trading in slaves

But we’ve seen ghouls down here twice. Mind Flayers fear the undead, as they have no brains to control.

Storm comes walking into the room….

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In the courtyard

Toruk leaves the interrogation room and is on the balcony for a minute. His human eyes can not see any of the others. Kvothe and Alynis are still in the room at this time. . Storm and Armand can see Turok, their dark vision eyes watch as he scans the courtyard then moves down into it, wandering in the darkness without much light to guide him.

Turok moves to the collapsed stable area, stumbles and SPLASH, tumbles into a submerged basement. He was not checking and wandering in the darkness. Armand moves toward where he saw Turok in trouble, loses sight of Storm at this time.

Turok coughs some water out and is treading water in a submerged basement. Armand is moving to assist. IT is at this time that Alynis and Kvothe leave the room and are on the balcony.

Something grabs Turok from behind, yanking him back into the water, he has just enough time to get a breath before it drags him under. Something strikes Turok on the side, a blow which threatens to smash the air from his lungs, he twists, drawing a hand axe and swings wildly behind him to try and dislodge his attacker. Another blow lands painfully into his midsection whatever is attacking him is holding and dragging him down…..

Kvothe appears next to Aramnd, a bow and with a knocked arrow, aiming at the water which is now frothing with a struggle below. Dancing Lights illuminates the area, Stomr is off to one side and yells “WE GOT A FIGHT DONW HERE” to the others

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More Interrogation

Alynis takes out and was the Book of Iuz drumming her fingers against the book’s cover and making sure that the captive sees it. “There is no reason for two groups to be down here looking for the same thing,” she states and the rest of you feel that you see her face flash red

She continues “if you’d just leveled with us right away maybe none of this would have occurred” The prisoner looks confused for a second then says, “Guess we fucked up mam, but no one told us there was another group. Matyara lead us here and she told us we were one an independent mission”

Alynis asks “Matyara was your leader?”

Prisoner “Yes the one your bear killed”

Alynis: “Draw me a map of how you got down here. How did we not run into each other earlier?”

prisoner: “well you will have to untie my hands”

Just then there is a splash and a shout outside. Kvothe throws the hood on his cloak up, his outline blurs and he moves outside to investigate. Turok had just left the room and Armand and Storm were already outside on the balcony.

Alynis: (anger) “I have to clean this up, what was that noise outside, are there still your people down here?”

Prisoner: " No idea, but this is a difficult place"

Alynis: (sighs) “I don’t’ even know what you’ve done, how far you got, what your status is, other than we basically just killed you all”

Prisoner: Well we got here a while ago and went over this area a bit before establishing a camp. Then you guys showed up and here we are….. You know come to think of it Matyara had us meet this guide down here.

Real flake out girl elf named Dorkus or something like that. Dorkus is the one that old guy was tearing apart before he shot me with whatever that was he knocked me out with…….

Dorkus wasn’t by us as we rested. Said she had to meditate and disappeared. Didn’t think about it until now. You guys showed up and she wasn’t around. Then next I see her that old guy is eating her brain……

Alynis sighs again turns and angrily tosses her hood up. Just like Kvothe’s cloak did to him, you see her outline blur and blend in with the grey walls, she walks out onto the balcony.

Helm lets a moment go by and then says “I were you I’d be spilling my guts now before she comes back and spills them for you.”
The captive looks confused…

“That’s it, we came down here looking for treasure. There is a cave system in the Gnarley Forrest that leads down here”

The Gnarley Forrest is about 50 miles to the north of Zulern. 2 day walk, most likely 3 days in the under dark conditions

“Mistress, er’ Matyara had all the plans, says there is treasure down here. I wasn’t always let in on her ideas, but there was something here that she said would give us the favors of IUZ, although all we found was a bunch of bathtubs and some striges that attacked us”

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