A few do-in’s a-spirin’...
Spending a couple of days in town, the party of adventurers did some sleuthing about Seaburgh following up on some rumors…
It turns out the woods to the east of Seaburgh have been lacking in game lately. There were signs of other creatures hunting in the woods and it was found out that some primitive humanoids were out and about in the woods… hunting carelessly. An arrow belonging to these hunters was found, a bit primitive in design, but still effective. A couple of men who worked down in the shipyards had gone missing. Word was that they simply vanished; unusual for these men who were often reliable laborers. Food and offerings had been stolen from the temple and Delvessa, the clergywoman, was a bit disturbed by it. Upon investigating, sharp golaith eyes discovered the traces of a black feather in the temple, signs of some old feathered friends. The gnome prisoner (Flenn) drew much talk in Seaburgh, and Constable Walt had a tough time figuring out what to do with a “real” criminal. Meanwhile, during this time, Nowhere was sitting and chatting with Loni, the oldest citizen of Seaburgh, an ancient half-elf man who in his youth, actually lived in the great port of Murasha, before its downfall…
And then the always troubling news of the price of honey skyrocketing… as there was still no sign of any bees…
Early morning temple troubles
It was decided that the feathery thief who was harassing the temple needed to be dealt with, so the party spent the evening staking out the temple, waiting for any signs of the foul bird. The morning came, as did the mayor, Clara Clove, and Delvessa, on their way to morning devotions. The sunrise also brought out a Kenku Assassin stalking his prey. The assassin struck out from his hiding place and shot the mayor with his poisoned bow – and the party sprang into action! The kenku proved more wily than the rest of his kin, and danced among the adventures with ease, even getting to strike down the clergywoman as well. His pets soon appeared to lend him aid, two triangle-mouthed, reptilian dimensional marauders. Despite being stabbed, bitten, and having reality warped around them, the party was victorious. The kenku assassin lay bleeding, but alive. The mayor and clergywoman were healed and revived by the stalwart bard. Reviving and questioning the defeated killer crow, the party discovered his plan. The Kenku assassin was chosen to be a distraction, to keep the party’s attention directed on him while his “flock” did their work.
It was a jailbreak! The Kenku flock had sprung into the constable’s office, and broke the gnome out of his cell while the explorers were busy in the center of town. Jann, the guard on duty, informed the party that the birds were not rescuing the gnome from his imprisonment, but kid-napping him. The dead kenku lying in the cell was evidence to the gnome’s reluctance to be “freed” by the dirty humanoid birds.
There were tracks and signs of the “flock” leaving town with their prisoner…
Taxation without representation
Tracking the kenku through the forest the adventurer’s discovered crossing tracks of humanoids, and their awareness thusly became heightened. That evening as they camped they were approached by a trio of Orcish hunters. But these were no mere hunters… they were also fearsome tax collectors. They belonged to a tribe that served King Drooj, the Ogre they had encountered previously. Their tribe would soon be arriving in force, and cementing Drooj’s power over the land. Insults were exchanged, but the orcs demanded their taxes. The party deployed deceptions to confuse the orcs and sow doubt in their hearts. They told them a tale of serving Drooj, and that they were currently on a secret mission for him. Orcish minds were wavering… The orcs then told their own tale, one of a mighty bear with feathers that had killed several of their party. If these warriors would aid them in killing this beast, they would waive their taxes…for now. The party agreed, but insisted it wait until after they completed their mission. Orcish minds reluctantly agreed.
Between a rock-inducing chicken and a soft-place
The group then departed and arrived at the edge of the ruins of Murasha. The Kenku tracks had led them to the ruins of a broken gate with two crumbling watchtowers formerly connected by an archway and portcullis. The south tower was almost entirely gone, the northern one only missing its top, though still in bad shape. The rogue-ish halfling of the party did some sleuthing, and scaled the remnant of the old city wall. He peered over and into the top of the aforementioned tower to see what lurked within… a variable number of kenku, some bird cages, and a large blue-ish bird creature. A way into this tower was needed since the door below on street level had been sealed up.
The party decided to investigate the south tower, and within its ruined shell and ruble strewn interior they located a poorly concealed trapdoor leading down. Upon entering the tunnel below they discovered it split in two directions. One led into an underground complex (possibly the ancient sewers of Murasha) and the other ran into a chamber below the north tower. The way in they had been seeking it seemed… They ventured into the chamber beneath the kenku’s tower and investigated the trapdoor that loomed down at them from the ceiling, the only way upwards. It appeared to be oddly hinged… Travel down the other direction of the tunnel proved even more odd, as the tunnel was soon found to be filled with a giant cube of acidic gel. A gant cube of acidic gel, that was hungry. The gelatinous cube proved to be a formidable foe, engulfing its adversaries readily… its acidic gooyness clinging to their stalwart armors. The battle with the cube (and the dwarf bards string of mind crushing curses) alerted the kenku above, who chose to drop one of their caged pets down through the door to do their dirty work. The rickety wooden cage smashed on the floor and a reptilian-chicken creature, half-starved and angry, faced off against the party. The mighty druid held the bird off, resisting its petrificating beak, while the rest of the party finished with the gelatinous cube. The unethical treatment the kenku had thrust upon this death chicken was not enough for the party to take pity on the cockatrice… and they smote it with their mighty blades.
The party then fled down the other passage, and took time within the ancient sewer tunnels to rest.. before they returned to take on the flock of Kenku.
The Tower of Death
First thing they noticed upon returning to the trapdoor… was that it was truly a trapped door. The evil birds had placed a large stone atop it, primed to crush the unwary who opened the door from below. The dungeoneering party’s strength and ingenuity bypassed the trap, and the party climbed into the ancient watchtower. Floor one held some storage crates, discarded clothing, old food… and stairs leading up to a sleeping chamber. This floor held some straw mats, lots of feathers and kenku droppings, and two sleeping kenku. The rogue and druid crept silently up the stairs. Silent as mice, preparing to dispatch their foes quietly the two moved into position over their victims, at which point, the rogue tripped. The kenku awoke and battle ensued, but the party defeated the birds quickly. Searching about they discovered some coin, and some magic odds and ends including a stone tile with a “magic mouth” upon it.
Again the rogue ventured fourth to peer ahead, climbing the next set of stairs. This being the top floor, the old crumbling walls opened to the dark morning sky and the ever present rains of Murasha. The halflings keen eyes deciphered a kenku Wing Mage milling about, and many other Kenku.. a couple cages held large birds of prey, and a large foul blue-feathered vulture-creature slumped in the center of the room. The rogue returned and reported his sightings and a devious plan was formulated by the adventurers. The tower was then promptly filled with traps. All manner of painful contraptions were carefully conjured including trip wires, broken glass strewn on stairs, piles of flammable materials stashed in secret places. Then the party took cover on the bottom floor to wait for the flock. Rags on the upper floor were lit aflame and the resultant smoke lofted up drawing the unwary crow creatures downward… to their demise. By the time the first and last waves of Kenku reached the bottom of the tower they were battered and bloodied (literally) by the party’s traps and were easily dispatched. Time passed, a waiting game was played.
It was then, the party decided they would need to make the next move. The flock’s ranks were thinned, it was time to clear the crown of this foul tower.
If this ritual is a rockin’...
The party climbed up to the top, avoiding/disarming their own traps and Bartok scouted ahead. He climbed the stairs stealthily, and ran right into the stealthed kenku who was keeping watch for them…both were oblivious and nearly ran into each other. The battle began. Two kenku Wing Mages were up top, one off the side of the tower on a fragment of the old wall. His attention was not focused on the battle, but intent on his arcane ritual, a ritual in progress. The other Wing Mage used his Force magic to throw the party back down the stairs. Kenku minions closed in, and one ran to free the Blood Hawks they had imprisoned releasing the raptors into the fray. The large demonic creature, a Vrock, crouched uncomfortably and scowled at all around him. The mighty warden charged in with the Vrock and the despicable demon proved a formidable foe. The hawk’s fly by attacks tore at the enemies of their masters while the kenku closed in for the kill… But the party was wily. They discovered the kenku conducting the ritual, they spied the arcane runes carved into the walls of the tower, observed the Vrock’s foul temperament, and putting the pieces together, they began to decipher the nature of the events at hand. The Vrock was being summoned and imprisoned by the ritual; held against his will. Nowhere’s arcane knowledge allowed him to assert his will into the ritual, and force its outcome… Dyrge also discovered the walls holding the symbols were weakened by age and weather.. and could be broken, thus breaking the ritual circle. The bloodied party chose to alter the ritual to free the Vrock…and succeeded. The foul demon screeched a mighty scream at the sky, all his hatred for the world let loose, thus stunning all in their tracks. It then proceeded to reap vengeance on the kenku who held him there, eating him wholly. The birds, humanoid or otherwise, were dispatched, and the Vrock flew off into the sky over the ruins… a demon let loose in the world of men.
The Owlbear Necessities
Recovered from their turmoil in the tower, the adventurers had a deal to uphold. They met the orcs outside the cave of the Owlbear and prepared for battle. The orcs stood their distance and prepared to provide archery support. The land was wooded, and congested making movement tight and difficult. This was a mighty foe, and they party closed in on the cave. They lured out the owlbear with music… and before he was barely out of the cave, he was beset upon by the party. Orcish arrows rained down, and the feathery bear was flanked and attacked on all fronts. They hindered the beast greatly in the early moments of the fight and put a great deal of wounds upon its foul hide; although, once the owlbear was free it ripped the goliath in half. Claw. Claw. Action Point. Bite. The warden fell… the party surged onwards and the rousing words of the bard returned the goliath to the battle. The fight was hard, but in the end, the bird-beast fell. They earned a bit of treasure and a bit of respect from some orcs… a job well done. King Drooj will be proud.
Questions remain unanswered… the gnome was not found, the magic mouth has not yet spoken its message, and an audience with King Drooj awaits.