The fight with the Dwarven Armor has left us weakened, so after taking some time to mend our wounds, we decide as a group, finally, what our next step is. While Krull wants to go back to Stormreach, Skull wants to go back to find the Dwarves. I do see both points and it is good that we all do eventually agree it is best to make our way back to the Dwarves to hand off their armor. For all we know it could reactivate and kill us all in our sleep.
Not long after we began to travel, we spot tracks of an undistinguishable nature. Because of this, Krull and Skull decide to scout ahead while Gromak, Noreixius and I follow by thirty minutes in an attempt to rest up a bit more. We are not long into this journey, but already we are worn and wounded. If we keep going at this pace, who know’s what may happen to us?
When we arrive at the Dwarven Campsite, they are quick to hand off their clan’s moonstone to Skull as thanks for saving them from any more loss of honor due to the rogue armor. It is strange though, while they seem grateful, they appear shaken. It is then that Skull tells us of Arvek and Braff’s experience they shared with them – Haunted, they said, by a ghostly woman who disappeared when they approached her. Even now, they still appear ashen and scared. They change the subject rather quickly though, but I am curious of this woman they saw.
We talk of their clan and interestingly, they are not strictly Dwarven. The two invite our group to join them in Raywell in the north east, if we’d like to learn more of them. If we’d like to recognize them, we are to use the scrap of armor they have provided me that displays the odd symbol we have seen all over the Rogue Armor. They are kind and their ways a bit strange, but maybe one day, I’ll meet them again. After we part ways, our group begins our trek once again up through the Harrah Hills.
It is not long after that we come upon the edge of the hill we have been trekking on, and even in the early evening dusk we can see the lights of a Stone Fortress in the distance. From our location, it looks to be impenetrable. We are able to spot only one approach that would not mean almost certain death – The ground we stand on continues to meet two tall guard towers which lead to a slim bridge. This bridge then connects with the main building where another two towers stand. From where we have stopped, we can see the sides of the Fortress drop down on all sides to one of the most steep and treacherous rock faces I have ever seen. Tired and still hurting from our earlier battles, I am glad that we all manage to agree without fight, it is best we backtrack and rest.
After moving back into the cover of the woods, we begin to set up our camp. After throwing down his bed roll, Noreixius makes friends with a Raven he has captured, though captured may be too strong of a word. Plucked off a branch may be more like it. As we have noticed on our journey so far, all of the Raven’s have been acting strangely – watching, calmly, barely moving or even acknowledging anything. Noreixius calls his new friend, Tom.
Sometime later after finally resting and having gained my strength back, I sit on guard. While the evening has been quiet so far, I begin to hear noises and voices – we believe it is around midnight and have discerned that it could be that this is the changing of the guard at the keep. Not long after that, we hear something large moving through the woods speaking in Giant – grunting words like hungry, etc. I am grateful that most of our group is sleeping so not to draw any unwanted attention.
Some time later as the others begin to wake from their rest, my curiosity has grown of this place. Hoping that it is truly the location we are looking for, we decide to scout closer. Both Gromak and I make our way toward the bridge in the dark with the intention to try and learn more so we can plan a diversion for Noreixius, Krul and Skull to sneak toward the rock face. Though we try to be quiet, the guards hear us approach and we overhear as they form a small search party. Since we have discovered that these woods are haunted by spirits, I try to use that to my advantage. Crying and teleporting, I hope to convince them long enough for Gromak to get away, but I could not cast myself far enough. Even if I had, I don’t know why, but Gromak went toward them proclaiming to be a ghost tracker! I don’t know what he was thinking. We didn’t know what we’d find up close, but we did not plan to walk in there willingly! It was all I could do, not to run back in there as they took him away in manacles, thankfully believing my ruse, they left me be.
I planned to gather the rest of the group, but they had already left to see what they could at the base of the rock face. By some grace, I managed to catch up as they begin to climb, I tell them what has happened as I join in the trek up toward the main building, aided by Noreixius ability to mold hand holds in the dirt. Now, instead of trying to find out what we could of the fortress, we need to plan a rescue mission as well. From the small window’s lining the exterior, we can see the top of a very large creature and hear the clanging of the manacles wrapped around him. Skull seems to focus internally and I realize then, that he is speaking to the creature. He has told us that he hopes the if we help the creature escape, he may help us.
Our fight begins when Skull aims his bow through the window to one of the many of the soldiers inside – the creature, which turns out to be a cyclops is scared, timid even as we move inside and try to release him. He seems to cower and even more so at the sound of a battle horn. This sound scares him and the soldiers we fight, seem empowered by it. When I finally have the opportunity to inflict some damage with my magic, the Cyclops looks willing to fight. Unfortunately, as has happened to those in my family before, my magic surges and almost at once, and while everything shifts around me, I feel myself grow younger. My mental and emotional capabilities unchanged, but I can feel the change – my body is now roughly seven years younger.
We fight with determination, but we are down one because of Gromak’s capture and after Noreixius and Krull fall unconscious, I have but moments to wonder where Skull disappeared to and fend for myself before everything turns dark.