Broken Moon

Meeting the Fury of the Way

After the trial was done and their respects paid to Judge Daramid, the party split for a short time to handle personal business around Lepidstadt. Just over an hour later, they reunited and purchased a set of horses for the long journey to Schloss Caromarc in the northern mountains. Their travels to the castle were uneventful, save for Parva being forced by Yuuko to undergo mandatory target practice using some bottles and rocks, punishment for the errant bomb he had harmed his allies with earlier.
In the mid-afternoon, the group arrived at Schloss Caromarc, which was revealed to be less a castle, and more a series of buildings built into the cliff walls of a gorge spanning a huge, roaring waterfall far below. As they approached, another sound overcame the rushing water and reached their ears. Somewhere up ahead, two loud voices were engaged in a bellowing argument.
Tataco stealthed ahead to check the situation and discovered a group of bear cultists similar to the ones they had encountered in Sanctuary engaged in heated discussion with a troop of trolls who stood atop the battlements of the castle’s guardhouse. The cultists, who had with them a huge, rotting bear-like monstrosity, were negotiating for access, looking for some sort of “effigy” to resurrect their “lord”, but the trolls, thick, stubborn, and stupid creatures, were having none of it.
Judging the bear to be some sort of undead creature, Taco gave two vials of holy water to Sterbird, who circled above the other groups before dropping them onto the Ursa Nightmare’s head. The bear roared in pain and rage as battle spontaneously broke out between the two arguing factions, the bear cultists rushing forward to meet the trollhounds which guarded the gate. Meanwhile, the party remained hidden around a pass in the small canyon, readied in case the conflict came their way, until, able to bear the presence of the undead bear no longer, Tataco let an arrow fly at it. With an enraged bellow, the creature charged at Taco, only to meet Yuuko’s katana halfway there. It managed only a single bite, catching the ranger’s arm in its mouth, before the strikes from the paladin’s weapon and a bomb from Parva sent it collapsing to the ground.
Over by the gatehouse, the cultists were not faring much better, fighting a losing battle against the trollhounds’ regenerative abilities, even as the trolls rained rocks and crossbow bolts down on them from above. Yuuko rushed into the fray, cutting down a trollhound as Dekhaim moved to the gate, only to find that it was locked. Realizing then, as the remaining cultist was ravaged on the ground by the other hound, that the trolls had not made any aggressive moves toward them, Yuuko tried to look innocent as Parva moved forward to negotiate.
The trolls’ leader, named Grokk, was tough-headed, blunt, and dim-witted, but not unreasonable. With the right amount of flattery and bolstering of the giant’s ego, Parva was able to secure entry into the castle, which had until then repulsed all the trolls’ attempts to raid it, on the condition that they give it to Grokk when they were finished with it. He also learned that Count Caromarc had not been seen leaving the castle for at least a week, and that a group of black-robed cultists had come through just a few days ago for some unknown purpose. After the hooded figures left, Grokk had sensed his opportunity to seize the castle he had coveted for so long, and attempted to move in, but had only been able to take the gatehouse thus far.
With the trolls’ blessing, or as close to it as they could get, the party moved into the gatehouse and found the opposite door, leading to the castle, barricaded against something that Grokk called the “scary dog” on the other side. Among the rubble was the body of a uniformed guard, who the trolls admitted to killing, and the group split their efforts between burying this unfortunate and clearing the junk away.
Shortly afterward, with the door now clear and Tataco wearing the tattered and ripped guard’s uniform, Yuuko opened the door, only to find a long, narrow bridge leading to the next building in the sequence that climbed the gorge walls. At the other end, guarding the door of what appeared to be a fancy manor clinging to the rock wall, was a flesh golem hound of the same kind they had encountered at Vorkstag & Grine’s, which gave a braying howl and began to run at them. Not wanting to face the stitched creature head on, Yuuko unceremoniously shut the door, and asked Parva to talk to the trolls about it.
Though there was a certain amount of confusion, and Grokk eventually claimed it as his own idea, Parva was able to convince him, Caramel, and the other trolls to throw rocks at the hound until it died or was knocked over the edge. Several minutes later, they succeeded, and the way was clear.
The door to the manor was ornate, emblazoned with the symbol of a sun being devoured by hungry clouds, and had only a single viewing slit and a bell pull. Sensing a trap should they attempt to simply open the door, Tataco pulled the rope, setting off a series of chimes within. After a moment, the viewing slit opened, although they could see no-one inside, and then, just as suddenly, closed. The group was confused, but Parva volunteered to drink a potion of spider climb and check out the other side while the rest of them pondered. Downing the solution, he then put his hands on the wall, lifted his feet off the ground and, upside down, waggled his eyebrows at the party before shuffling away.
Around the back, Parva discovered another bridge leading from the manor to a building on the opposite side, with a door at each end. He checked the door of the other building, which was unlocked, then moved to the manor, where he managed to pick the lock and steal inside. Within was a small hallway leading to a secret door which opened on the rest of the house, and Parva began to snoop around, discovering a beautiful seal-skin cloak and an ornate walking stick for his trouble, both of which he appropriated.
On the other side, the rest of the party had asked Kendra to cast Mending on Tataco’s uniform, restoring it to its original color and shape, then tried the bell pull again. This time, after the viewing slit opened, there was a clunk, and the door swung inward soundlessly. Cautiously, the group entered the foyer, sporting a lit fireplace with a portrait of Caromarc hanging above it, and immediately saw a large, hook-handed monstrosity emerge from underneath the stairs to the right.
In the dining room at the other side of the house, Parva heard the noise of battle as he looked around. He moved to assist, assuming his partners had already found their way in, but was hindered by the large number of doors between him and his destination. Meanwhile, Yuuko had engaged the Hobbling Hook-Handed Apparatus, and was finding its warped metal frame difficult to damage. Kendra had splattered it with acid, which seemed to be effective, and Dekhaim cast a spell to heat the metal joints of the creature. Together, they managed to beat it into submission, and began exploring the rest of the house, meeting up with Parva shortly afterward.
Though well-stocked and elegantly furnished, the rest of the manor posed no danger to the party. They discovered many rooms filled with valuables such as a collection of spices in the kitchen, several cuts of fine, smoked choice ass in the pantry, and an exotic wine collection in the cooler, but left everything as it was, choosing not to steal from the house should Count Caromarc still be alive. Upstairs was similar, with several bedrooms and a variety of expensive jewelry and clothing in various containers. Of particular interest, however, were a set of plans for a new stone bridge found in one of the rooms, and a hidden cabinet holding a king’s ransom in gold and a small magical goat statue worth a fortune. This latter was trapped, and resulted in Yuuko taking an arrow to the shoulder, but she quickly shook off the poison and was no worse for wear.
With the manor thoroughly searched, the party continued moving forward, going through the secret door Parva had come in from and crossing to the unlocked building on the other side. Inside, it was revealed to be a full alchemical lab in some disarray. Part of the western wall had been blown outward, and it appeared as though a stone bridge which had once connected it to the building opposite had collapsed, with no way to cross now but a rickety rope bridge which had been constructed in its wake. The laboratory itself was useless, the equipment rusted beyond recognition, and the reason became quickly apparent as three rust monsters, mandibles and antennae twitching, crawled from the wreckage.
Tataco immediately recognized the creatures, and the party took measured to protect their equipment, Taco throwing a pot full of brass weights as a distraction as the rest moved behind Dekhaim who, wearing no metal, blocked the door.
Once they had finished devouring the pot, the insects moved to surround Dekhaim, but were unable to deal any real damage to him. Tataco let loose with a flurry of arrows but, in his haste, accidentally grabbed his flute from his possessions instead, stringing it and firing before he realized what he was doing. There was a moment of panic, but he watched with relief as it narrowly missed flying out the hole in the wall and into oblivion, instead bouncing harmlessly off a wall and clattering to a stop behind the monsters. Under a barrage of ranged attacks, the druid’s staff, and help from Yuuko, who had discarded her metal equipment in favor of her fists, two of the creatures quickly fell. The third monster, which was injured, clambered out the hole in the wall and to the underside of the building in desperation. Parva, still under the effects of Spider Climb, gave chase, standing upside-down underneath the structure as he grappled with the creature, scoring a fatal hit with his dagger and watching in satisfaction as it fell lifeless into the rapids below.
After regrouping and picking up their equipment, the party turned to regard the swaying rope bridge. Wisely deciding that it looked incredibly dangerous and untrustworthy, Tataco tied one end of a rope to himself and secured the other to the building he was leaving before, rope of climbing in one hand, he crept carefully across the chasm. He had reached the halfway point without incident before a sudden burst of light and smoke caught him off-guard. Taco clawed wildly at the air as he was thrown off the bridge, missing the edge by inches, before being swung back to hang fifty feet below the laboratory.
At the same time, from the burst of smoke arose a black winged, hateful-looking woman clad in armor and bearing a bow nocked with a flaming arrow. She immediately unleashed a barrage of missiles at Taco who, hanging from a rope in the void, made for an easy target. The flaming arrows shredded through him, almost bringing him to unconsciousness instantly, as the rest of the group rushed to pull him up. Tataco hoisted himself up, climbing desperately, as Yuuko, bolstered by spells from Kendra and Banjo, pulled on the rope, but, as the flying woman pulled out another arrow, it became quickly apparent that they would not be fast enough. Thinking quickly, Parva, still sticking to walls from the potion, climbed under the bridge. Standing upside-down and using his prodigious height, he was able to pull a smokestick from his pack and, straining with reach, hand it to Taco, who activated it, cloaking himself in a smokescreen.
Her prey now hidden from view, the Erinyes cursed and shot a rope-like thread from her wings to wrap around Parva’s ankles, before grabbing it and readying to pull him into the abyss. Tataco, with the aid of Yuuko and Bear, had managed to climb up into the alchemy lab again and, on the way, secured one end of the rope of climbing to Parva. Moving quickly, he tied the other end around Banjo, who braced himself, all four claws digging into the stonework.
Once again foiled, the fury dropped the rope, instead firing her bow again, scoring an array of hits on Parva and almost dropping him instantly as well. Though injured, he managed to climb back on top of the bridge, slashing at the rope with his dagger, where Yuuko stepped in and cut clean through it with her katana. The party began retreating, hoping to pull her into the manor where she would not have the advantage of range, and Dekhaim cast a wall of wind to deflect any arrows and cover them as they pulled back.
Undeterred the Erinyes cast a spell of her own, covering Yuuko, Taco, and Dekhaim in a dark, cloying mist which sucked the very life from them. Tataco, already hurt from the arrows, collapsed, seconds away from death. Kendra, Yuuko, and Parva rushed into the manor as Dekhaim and Banjo healed Taco and set up a defensive perimeter, using the walls of the laboratory to their advantage.
Flying around to get a better angle, the fury scored a few shots on Banjo before the others managed to make it across and into the manor, Taco summoning a celestial eagle to cover their escape. This proved nothing more than an annoyance, and the Erinyes landed on the bridge, drawing forth her longsword and moving to engage Yuuko inside the manor. Within, she was subjected to a barrage of ranged attacks and spells, as well as injured in melee combat, but was undeterred, lashing out with her flaming sword but barely failing to land a hit.
The tide suddenly turned when the eagle, which had been disregarded by the fury, suddenly swooped in and viciously rent her exposed stomach with one of its claws, literally disembowling her. Severely hurt, but not yet defeated, she cast another spell, bringing down the cloud of darkness and forcing most of the party to the brink of defeat before several shots from Tataco and another strike from Yuuko finally killed her. Moments later, the body of the Erinyes vanished, along with her equipment, bringing nothing but silence.
Perhaps misreading the situation, the magical servants who tended the mansion began setting the table and bringing out plates of steaming food as the party tended to their wounds and passed around healing spells. Exhausted from that ordeal, they ate the hearty meal which had been placed before them, and retired to the bedrooms upstairs, deciding to continue their investigation after a good night’s rest.


Gamble_Kuma Gamble_Kuma

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