posted by wererat
January 25, 2006, 16:27
Category: Vasha's Journal

Growfest 5, 593 CY, NW of Fairhaven

Despite the ever-present bucolic nature of Fairhaven, for years I’ve had a strong suspicion that eventually, something sinister would attack, and most likely in the dead of night. I would say that my vigilance had finally paid off, but due to my lack of foresight, it never occurred to me that the attack would be from outside the town, rather than from inside the cemetery.

It was after one of my nightly inspections of the local graveyard (making sure that old farmer Droverson really did die of natural causes three days ago), after I’d already returned to my burrow, that I heard the panicked screams coming from outside– in the direction opposite of my normal nightly haunt.

The town was on fire! Or at least, that’s what I thought at first, but fortunately people were already bringing water from wells to put out the little fires popping up along the northwest corner of town. The unmistakable sounds of “yipping” surrounded me as I was nearly overrun by hateful kobolds. I attempted to knock a few of their heads together with my staff as I made my way to the Last Chance Inn to see where the town guard wanted me to head.

I got there and met with several other Fairhavians who had come prepared with weapons rather than buckets– Grundl, the dwarf that, ironically, always thought an attack would come from outside the town; Strum, a human paladin that can nearly always be found either at the shrine in the middle of town, or in the tavern portion of this inn; and Ben, another human– the one I used to only see over around the mystic crackpot’s cabin. As we were assembling, the cowardly attackers were leaving the town en masse; it was apparent they had turned tail and run out of spinelessness, until we got a message from the local shrine as to why they’d been here at all.

We got word that Namfoodle, a gnomish cleric of St. Cuthbert, had been attacked and left badly wounded while he was tending to the shrine. We went there immediately; I happened to notice that the statue of St. Cuthbert near which he lay looked different. Upon inspection, I found a partially opened drawer in the base of it, which contained absolutely nothing, but judging by the triangular impression in the velvet lining of the drawer, had recently held something of importance.

It was a few hours until Namfoodle was conscious again. He asked to see Strum, and I tagged along with questions of my own. Upon my inquiry, Namfoodle sighed and said the statue had contained an important relic called the “Heart of Truth” — an artifact which, if combined with two other items (hidden elsewhere beyond our town), held enormous power. He had not been attacked by a kobold, but by a creature that defied much of an accurate description. “Shadowy” might suffice. The kobolds had provided a distraction so that the creature could get into the shrine unnoticed and poor Namfoodle just happened to be there when the attack came.

Namfoodle asked Strum to get the relic back; Grundl, Ben and I decided we would accompany him. As soon as first light came, we were following the kobolds’ tracks northwest toward Cairn Hills. It took three days, but we eventually followed the tracks right up to a seemingly-abandoned mine entrance.

Cautiously, we crept in, and I tried to stay far enough ahead to prevent any traps from hitting our human companions, as their vision is not so good underground. I found one such trap, a crossbow mounted to a wall at the end of some mine cart rails– I dismantled the trap and kept the bow. I had a close call with a pit trap, but was fortunate and sensed it in time to jump away. I disabled that one as well and we continued on through the twisting tunnel. Eventually, we came to a fairly sizable chamber, or rather, two chambers– we fought several kobolds in one, and then encountered still more in the second chamber. This room was particularly disturbing; for one thing, they had assembled some sort of metal pyramid in the middle of the room, and for another, the shadowy form that had attacked Namfoodle was present!

We easily dispatched most of the kobolds, though each time one died, a black form would float out of the corpse and into the shadowy thing. One kobold appeared to be a shaman; it was harder to kill, certainly, but we were eventually able to slay it as well. When we got to one remaining kobold, I wanted to question it, but my companions assumed that it would be somehow part of the shadowy form; surprisingly, that last kobold died without releasing the black essence. The shadowy thing merely drifted away before we could figure out what it was.

We found some interesting items on the kobold shaman and in one of the rooms: about 800 gold pieces in coins, a wrought silver-tongued bracelet, three vials of holy water, some obviously magical bracers, and a leather-bound book.

Beyond this room was a door and tunnel leading back outside– and tracks that head south….