Stumbling through the Swordcoast

The Shrine of the Moon

Ankheg by kikicianjur d33fb9fVulpin swallowed hard as an immense, chittering ankheg slid out from under the crumbling house. It’s mandibles clicked together sharply, seeking the pungent oil telling it that a suitable mate was nearby. Its eyes observed the isolated thief, and began to scuttle forward at a surprising speed. “Would ya get a load of that fat bugger,” he murmured, slid a step back, and quickly drew an arrow from its quiver. “Gentlemen, we’ve got company!”

Most of the group had their hands full already. The construct guardians seemed hell bent on destroying anything that threatened their kobold master. The kobold, slyly aware of the nearby ankheg in the abandoned shack, hurled a flask of foul-smelling oil at the adventurers, sure that it would lure the beast out. The kobold then slid back into a narrow alley, certain that whatever her defenders didn’t crush would be easily dispatched by the monstrous insect.

The group, however, had other plans. The air crack and sung with a flurry of arrows, axes, blasts of psionic power, and better-than-average insults. Seraphina charged forward alongside Fargrim and Loup, rapidly surrounding the automatons, and delivering blow after blow. The beasts fought hard, but were no match for the fury which descended upon them. Once both beasts lay in the mud, Fargrim laughed “Those wee beasties thought they were a match for us! Guess we showed ‘em a thing or too, eh lassie?” But he was cut short as a terrified scream went up from behind the crumbling arch. Seraphina and Fargrim whipped around to see Lucan unconscious and bleeding badly from the head as a gargantuan ankheg scuttled toward the fields holding Lucan in its pincers. Feeling panicked, Nathaniel screamed “You… you were born from a batch of cold eggs!”

The party split in half, some running the aid of the incapacitated Mr. Hesh, the rest storming up a narrow street to capture the manic kobold as she continued to blind and disorient them with her spells. For a moment, the battle seemed to be lost, and Lucan’s fate sealed. But Vulpin, never a man to lose his cool under pressure, sunk another arrow into its socket, took slow aim, and murmured “…die, you rockhucking piece of filth…” The arrow flew true, piercing the ankheg’s mouth, and penetrating its insectoid brain. The thing fell forward in a heap, and Lucan came tumbling forward out of its jaws. (725 XP) Nathaniel and Vulpin ran forward, helping him up, and administer some smelling salts and bandages. Lucan muttered “Thanks… I owe you one,” but winced and held pressed the rag harder into his wound.
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As the three of them made their way back under the arch, they saw a wimpering, terrified kobold that had lost an arm in the skirmish and was bleeding very badly. Kindly, Seraphina stepped forward, and made a reasonable offer – “Help us, and I will restore your arm and your health.” Quickly, Speelock (as she called herself) chose to comply. She spoke of a group of “orcses with eyes”, the Slaying Stones, and Trystiss, a bronze dragon nearby. She informed Seraphina that Trystiss had moved into the hot-springs, but got chased out by a band of orcs. She now could be found at the Shrine of the Silver Flame. Hesitantly, she agreed to escort them to their destination. It was unfortunate, however, that none of the party was terribly familiar with kobold body language, and the glint of revenge in her eyes seemed to go by unnoticed. She almost laughed when they asked her to show them the way…

It took little time with Speelock’s help to arrive at the Shrine of the Silver Flame. They entered. The place seemed deserted, abandoned for years. Making their way through the shrine, they continued toward the Shrine of the Moon. And here, they found something out of the ordinary… a human male. Nathaniel turned to ask Speelock who this was, but the Kobold had vanished completely. With little other choice, and hoping the man might have information about Trystiss, they approached.

The man’s name was Kiris Hoyt. He explained that he was a rightful heir to the Kiris Dynasty, and only he had remained when the goblins invaded. Before the party could ask any more, a shuffling of a dozen feet could be heard outside. A goblin voice cried loudly “Kill the Ratman!” Then, spying the party, the goblin paused for a moment, then raised its silvery blade crying “Them too! KILL ALL RATMANS!!!”
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The battle that ensued was chaos. Goblins advanced on the group from the north, while another pack battered down the doors to the south. Drawing their weapons, the group advanced to meet them. But, in a moment of panic, they realized that Kiris Hoyt had transformed into a wererat in the light of the moon, and launched himself at Fargrim’s throat! It had incredible speed and strength, biting, running, and darting through the rubble. Shocked at Hoyt’s treachery, the party engaged him as well, just as the goblins poured from the south. They surrounded Loup, and cruelly stabbed her til she lay still, then they turned and charged toward Lucan and Nathaniel, cornered and up against a stone wall. Vulpin, for his part, slipped into a dark passageway, and stealthily dispatched several goblins before running out covered in both human and goblin blood. Quick on his heels came a goblin brandishing a silvery blade, screaming “RATMANS DIE!!!” He went straight for Hoyt, striking it deep with the silvery blade, and sending a scream coming from the creature. In the chaos, Seraphina grabbed the rat by the tail and flung it into the pool of moonlight. Hoyt fell into the bowl, looked confused, and then launched itself at the face of its nearest attackers.

It wasn’t easy, but eventually all the goblins lay still and Kiris Hoyt, in human form once more, lay wheezing under the Moon Basin. The party was covered in cuts, bruises, and suffered a broken bone or two. Fargrim and Seraphina were suffering from a mild fever, surely contracted from the diseased rat. Fargrim and Vulpin each drew a blade, and advanced on the helpless man. Fargrim said through clenched teeth “Listen close, ya filthy treacherous vermin… do you have anything you can tell me right now that will help us enough to keep me from splitting yer skull in twain? Anything about a dragon, or a magic stone perhaps?” Vulpin chimed in “You have exactly 3 seconds, you weasel bastard…”

Nearly choked with panic, Kiris Hoyt stammered “I d-d-don’t know about about anyth-thing with a drag-g-gon or a st-stone. What’re you talk-talking about?!” Serpahina cried, “Wait Fargrim! What if he’s telling the truth, and can’t help it when –“ But Fargrim wasn’t listening. He stepped forward, and in one clean movement, swung his axe down and sunk it deep into the forehead of Hoyt. (675 XP)

The wretched man twitched once, then was still.

You received 1400 XP total for the two encounters = 280 XP each.
You Level Up to Level 2!

Loot:
Force Wand +1
Triflik’s Blade +1 (for the sake of character sheet, treat it as a shortsword +1 with Silvered properties)

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PhilipOlson

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