After days on the road with few interesting events, the group spoke with Parl Cranewing who asked them to chart the dilapidated keep on the outskirts of WinterHaven. He in return would pay 350 gold for a functional map of the interior of the keep.
Jarahk carried the whole group piggy-back down the expansive road to the keep, but encountered their first enemies when a group of rag-tag Kobolds – including the infamous slinger – ambushed them.
Because of their lack of experience, almost all of the Kobolds attacked first.
Trias searched the fallen Kobolds and noticed that one held a symbol of Orcus, the Prince of the Dead. This was peculiar as Kobolds weren’t a particularly religious race; and also fairly spooky as Orcus could be compared to the likes of Hitler.
The team tended to their wounds while Duncan sang “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon to heighten their spirits. Afterwards they continued to make their way to WinterHaven.
Once arriving at the peaceful town of WinterHaven, Duncan attempted to catch the attention of a guard he recognized, but failed because of his lack of tact and popularity.
The locals eyeballed the adventurers, which wasn’t entirely surprising since they were still covered head-to-toe in blood.
They made their way to the inn and were questioned in passing by the receptionist whether they were in town for the mission Lord Padraig had been offering adventurers.
When Duncan inquired why Lord Padraig would intrust a mission with random adventurers, she immediately backed away. She assumed that they were in town for the mission and she had over spoke. She said that if they were interested they should speak with Lord Padraig himself.
After being shown to their room, they checked for anything of interest. Nothing of value was seen.
They met Lord Padraig at his barracks, barging into his office. He was taken back by this and his guards stepped forward. He asked if they were here for his mission.
He explained the situation and Duncan started milking him for money, but ceased after being told that they would have more leverage after completing the quest.
Deflecting this, the pendant of Orcus in Trias’ pocket piqued his attention. He asked of it and learned that the adventurers had been attacked by the Kobolds, this being very concerning to begin with. Let alone Orcus also being somehow involved.
He agreed to pay 250 gold for the safe return of his daughter.
Duncan tried once more to speak with a guard and succeeded as well as he did before. He then fist-bumped the Mayor, who was caught off guard by this unusual gesture.
The Next Day
The adventurers headed out to find the Kobold lair.
As they make their way out of WinterHaven, Thoril uncovered a large, inconspicuous trap laid by yet another group of Kobolds.
After much deliberation, the drake which Thoril had, in some form, adopted was sent on his away. Jarahk made his opinion of this decision as clear as mud.
Malchus searched a nearby chest which contained a pouch of 50 gold and a rusty sword. Downstairs, movement and murmurs of “Get things ready” are heard. Meanwhile, the Kobold who was desperately attempting to use the circle had the symbol of Orcus embellished all over him.
Jarahk inspected a small well of water. Using his powers of deduction he discovered it shimmered like water and was rather wet.
As they crept down the stairs, they entered dim, decrepit barracks. With large rifts in the floor and mosses strewn across the room, this dungeon-like area had obviously been abandoned for years. They also noticed their goal: the Mayor’s daughter in the back of the room. Held captive in a large, heavy, iron cage supported by stocky chains; all suspended above an vast chasm.
To one side of the room were several slightly open doors adjacent to a much larger one. Directly in front of the adventurers stood a small horde of Kobolds. This dungeon was obviously where the majority of the Kobolds in the area had been inhabiting. They quickly spotted the group.
The Mayor’s daughter helplessly shouted at the group after they began looting the corpses of their enemies. She hurriedly stated that her name was Talia and that the pulleys were connected to a set of levers and the cage’s suspension was booby trapped. She then explained that IronTooth – one of the enemies they had just defeated – had spoken with a man by the name of Kalero [ clarification needed ] who had been leading the cult of Orcus and planned to bring Him back to the land of the living.
Duncan cruelly shook the cage and Tali shrieked and pleaded for Duncan to stop. He did so.
Shaking like a leaf, she informed the group that she was to be offered as the sacrifice for the ritual and that many of the Orcish Kobolds were away pillaging graveyards in order to find the last key to open the dimensional gate and allow Orcus to step foot in the overworld once more.
Duncan inquired whether she knew of him. She did not.
Thoril shifted to the control panel and began cautiously toggling the levers. Two movements made a wooden clunk that didn’t seem to effect the chains. The third caused a shift in one of the pulleys. A harsh, grinding of metal and sliding of chain was heard. Thoril trembled. Tali stiffened and her widened eyes shifted their gaze to Thoril.
Making use of their adventurer’s kits, they weaved their ropes around the iron bars of the cage. Tali tied a firm knot. The other side of the rope was then tied to the jail bars conveniently positioned on the opposite side of the room. They all urinated on the rope to make it allegedly stronger thanks to Jarahk’s suggestion – which turned out to be a massive myth.
With plan B set up, Thoril slid a lever, which produced a relieving clunk. Jarahk attempted to aid Thoril but failed.
The pulleys slacked and the chains released. The cage began to plummet, but the rope resisted and grew taut. The cage fell a few feet and smashed into the side of the abyss. Tali was petrified, tumbling in the cage slightly, but relatively unharmed.
The rope began to strain and the chains rushed into the chasm, tugging further down. The entire party gripped the rope, and fiercely hoisted back. Though slippery from the urine, the cage edged back up the cavern. The heavy iron scraped up the walls and along the corner. With one last pull the cage tumbled forward with Tali doing the same.
She lifted herself up, panned around the room and swiftly fell back to the ground unconcious.