Arulia

Into and Out of the Cave
These Goblins Don't Speak Goblin Very Well

They met up with the last warriors of Kogar, and Kogar himself, hiding within warrens of the cave system. Kogar led them to Khamad’s secret study. The party caught sight of a tall hooded figure, turning and walking away, back to Khamad’s study, as Khamad engaged the party. Kogar went after the hooded figure, shouting “Gwardesh! You will pay for what you did to my people!” Khamad prevented anyone else from going after him, by summoning more of the hideously deformed wolves to fight the party. Khamad backed into a corner, shouting “You bring monsters to steal my power! Now you die!” He fought to the death without saying another word. The adventurers ran down the hall to catch up with Kogar. They only found him dead in Khamad’s study, the back fo his head torn open and emptied, no sign of his brain. Throughout the room were scraps of papers and a few books, but it looked like most of the room had been hastily packed and removed. There was no sign of Gwardesh.

They brought what papers and treasure they could back to town, where Elverrion and Chance were able to peruse it, and found that it contained words of the Dark Speech, that unearthly language of unmaking and chaos. Elverrion agreed to keep it from the world, taking it back to his study to examine it and run some tests to determine its possible intent. In the mean time, the keep had other things to worry about, as Lord Dunnyck, the King’s Inquisitor, had arrived to conduct an investigation.

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The Corrupted Goblins

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Lady Tuala generously offered rooms in the manor house as a refuge for the displaced townsfolk. The whole town was camped, army-style, in rooms throughout the house. In the morning, sweeps were made through the town to ensure it was safe, and the Lady gathered the heroes of the previous night, the only ones with experience in dealing with the creatures, to discuss plans.

Elverion suggested the goblins, nearby in the forest, might be responsible, as their shaman had recently collected a quantity of strange magical writings he would not share, despite the treaties in place. The new compatriots were asked to go and find out if the goblins had attempted to nullify the treaty. They should go under truce, but be prepared for a fight. On the way there, they encountered a horse, which had been infected by the tentacled creatures, and was changed, made into a wild ravenous beast, its skin coated in slime, its teeth turned to fangs. Killing the horse, they found a swollen outline of approximately the same size and shape as a tentacled creature, but no separate body. They reasoned that the creature had wholly merged with its victim to corrupt it completely.

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As they approached the goblin caves, they were met by two goblins, who claimed that Chief Kogar no longer talked to the wizard Khamad. That Khamad had been talking only to Gwardesh, lately. Gwardesh was a tall-one, like them, but wore a cloak that obscured his face always. Khamad had changed since learning new magic from Gwardesh. As if to demonstrate, the pets of the goblin wizard attacked. Once wolves, they were changed – covered with wrinkled, rubbery skin, eyes and mouths opening allover their bodies. Although they assumed the wolves had been corrupted as the horse had, the goblin warriors explained that the wolves had been like that since Gwardesh came to teach Khamad new ways of doing his magic.

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It Begins With Starfall

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A Priori Colleague of the Collegium Arcanum, named Chance, arrived in the trade town of Kechner, where there was a minor religious festival going on. Local to the crossroads town, the spring Festival of Nyan observes Nyan’s tears, which fall from the sky in a decorative display that typically lights up the night. This year, an especially bright display was forecast by Elverion, the tenured academic and astronomer of Lady Tuala, Lady of the manor and administrator of Kechner.

Chance came to observe the phenomenon, having a number of arcane theories about the nature of the tears. In town, the festival carried on all day. Chance met up with Kismet, a plucky barmaid, and her friends: Karl, a socially awkward, monstrous-appearing man who tends to keep to the shadows, but somehow trusts Kismet; Bella, a young elven lady, lately ward of the temple of Nyan; Priya, brassy paladin of the one-armed Sleadren, Goddess of Fate; and Jay, a young human man with a touch of fey blood, who sings for the entertainment of the whole Silver Stag tavern. Together, they savor the wonders of the festival and join up to enjoy the coming display of the Tears of Nyan after sunset.

Initially the lights in the sky drew oohs and ahhs, from the assembled onlookers. However, wonder turned to tragedy when the Tears fell explosively to the earth, disgorging beasts consisting of all mouths and tentacles. The falling pods destroyed buildings in the town, and fires started to burn anything that would catch. with the help of Brahn, a strange male half-orc priest of the goddess Nyan (whose clergy are always women), they managed to defeat a few of the beasts that approached the helpless townsfolk. Amidst the carnage, much of the trade town was destroyed. Lady Tuala took command, however. Leading the townsfolk to the wine cellar of her keep, she managed to prevent many casualties that might have occurred had the townsfolk been left exposed above.

Kismet, the plucky barmaid, managed to somehow loosen the lock leading deeper underground, that stone door at the back of the wine cellar, leading to the family crypt beneath the manor house. Before she had the opportunity to announce it to the crowd however, the Lady appeared at her shoulder. ‘Would we not be safe down here?’ Kismet asked. Tuala informed her that it would be a violation of her ancestors’ sanctity, and the presence of so many would defile the spirits of the dead. Kismet was about to argue, when a disturbance at the entrance to the cellars drew everyone’s attention.

One of the tentacled beasts had found its way to the cellar. Brahn, Priya, Chance, and Bella managed to hold the beast at bay. Deftly winding his way through the crowd, somehow spotting every gap between the many people crowded into the room, Karl slipped close and dealt the creature a staggering blow, after which, Bella, the young elven girl, released a bolt of magic from her fingertips and slew the beast.

Fascinated by the remains of the creature, Chance and Elverrion discussed its features, its possible origin, its nature … And Chance reasoned that it was from a far realm deep in the darkest depths of the universe. Above all, it was critical that they stop any more such creatures that might be out there. Priya agreed to lead a small group of people, including Jay, Kismet, Chance, Karl, and Bella; and Brahn would go to make sure they had healing magics available to them. Lady Tuala sent two of her armed guard to escort them.

Finding several unopened pods in craters nearby, they were repelled by the great heat. Unable to approach, they observed a pod opening, and two tentacled beasts emerged, which sensed nearby life and moved to attack. One was killed before landing a blow, but the other wrapped its tentacles around one of the guardsmen. The rest of the group managed to kill it before much damage was done, but the beast was sealed fast to the poor guardsman’s flesh. Its flesh had flowed around its victim’s protective clothing and grafted to the man’s skin. As the beast hovered on the brink of death, any harm inflicted upon it was felt by its victim. They brought the man back to the manor, where Chance and Elverrion dithered over the proper way to remove it. Suddenly Bella seized the creature’s rubbery flesh, commanded the half-orc priest, “Heal him,” and tore the monster from the helpless man. Although he screamed in agony as his flesh was rent open, the healing magic soon quieted him, and he lapsed mercifully into unconsciousness to recover, the danger past.

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