Tales from the Emerald Pentacle Issue Eight
Once more, O followers, comes a tale from the Emerald Pentacle of the exploits of the junior section of Halesowen Boardgamers in the fabled land of Talislanta.
Following the debacle at the House of Tizun Thane, they decided to lie low for a while and keep out of Thane’s way. Interestingly, none of them saw fit to inform him that a Cymrilian wizard named Aquilane was after him. However, the rooms at the Emerald Pentacle were expensive and funds were running low.
Jenny and Mr. Quiz returned to Silvanus and Thermite…, well, who knows where Thermite went to. The others stayed in Cymril; awaiting the start of the Magical Fair; as they still had the lottery tickets they had bought off Cil the Euphorica seller.
A summons came one day towards the end of Laeolis. Stoopod groaned as he saw Pulan, the stammering, be-turbaned servant of the mage Gennaro, approaching them. Shortly afterwards they were in the familiar room with the glowing blue walls, behind one of which loomed a huge, deformed shadow. When Gennaro began to speak they realised what they had forgotten; Thane was a friend of Gennaro’s. Thane was still vexed over the loss of the Mirrors and was seeking redress. They were to undertake a quest for him. To the west, beyond the forests of Vardune, a pure white waterfall cascades out of a hillside into the Axis river. Their quest is to discover the secret of White Feather Falls. Also, Gennaro added, if they were to see any Crag Spiders on the way then he needed more venom collecting.
After some equipment purchases in Cymril, they set off for Vardune, home of the Aeriads. After a day or so travelling they reached a valley with a shallow river running towards a range of hills. Following the river, it plunged into a cave, with a trail alongside. K’kree elected to wait outside on watch whilst the others entered the tunnel. After a short distance it widened into a cave’ suddenly with a loud CRACK!, something struck the wall next to Stoopod’s head. A second shot hit Grave a glancing blow; a hurried lighting of torches and a search revealed a ledge at the far end of the cavern with two Darklings shooting sling stones at them. A brief exchange of missiles took place, with Throtal hitting one Darkling in the chest, then with a superb shot, shooting the other right between the eyes. K’kree then flew in and attacked the remaining Darkling with a crescent knife; the Darkling fumbled, dropped its sling and ran off down a tunnel.
Following the river, Grave and Stoopod entered another cavern where the river was crossed by a natural stone bridge. From out of another tunnel came the sound of running feet and a Darkling burst out; Stoopod swung a mighty blow and hewed the unfortunate creature in two.
Another tunnel sloped up, from this came a foul carrion stench, whilst the river continued. They decided to split up (for an unknown reason); K’kree and Throtal followed the river tunnel whilst Stoopod and Grave headed up towards the stench.
Stoopod and Grave headed upwards, the stench of rotting meat and offal growing worse by the minute. A cave, with several exits, proved to be the lair of some Stryx; flying carrion-eaters. “Look, meat has come”, croaked one, “let us prey”. They reached for their capture-hooks; vicious barbed pole-arms designed to capture targets. Stoopod chopped one hook up with his Greatsword and started on his attacker; Grave cast an Arcane Bolt, then drew his longsword. They made short work of the male Stryx; seeing this the two females went into a berserk rage and Grave was badly clawed; even Stoopod took some damage before the Stryx were beaten off. Moving on, they found an egg chamber; the stench was so bad that Stoopod finally lost control and vomited the contents of his stomach. A sloping tunnel led down…
(Meanwhile, back in Cymril, a young girl entered the Emerald Pentacle. “I seek Stoopod the Thrall. Has anyone seen him?”)
Down in the river tunnel, K’kree and Throtal found that the river was now rushing downhill and becoming rockier and noisier. A small natural rock bridge led to a crack in the wall; inside they found the dead body of a Ferran. Searching it, they found a small amount of gold and a scrap of a map: -
(Sorry readers, the map didn't copy)
Returning to the main tunnel they followed the river, still rushing downwards. They came to a place where a branch of the river flowed off through a low tunnel, they started to crawl through…
At the foot of the sloping tunnel, Stoopod and Grave found a cave with a shallow pool, fed by a sluggish stream from the far wall. Next to the pool was a sinkhole; occasionally the water would well up and flow down the hole. A crunching sound from underfoot; the floor of the cave was littered with small bones, some bitten in half. Stoopod examined the sinkhole, it was about 18” diameter and wet and slimy. Suddenly, something splashed into the pool next to them.
Throtal and K’kree crawled along the tunnel, pausing at one point to toss a sling bullet ahead of them. They emerged into a cave, to see Stoopod and Grave peering into a pool.
(“I know Stoopod the Thrall. He frequents this place But he is not here now”
“No matter. Point him out to me when he returns.”)
So ended the first part of the adventure.