Hollow's Last Hope

The party decided to take Jeva, the sole survivor of the fire at Elara’s Halfway House. Her story self survival in the wilderness and self inflicted isolation to help her control her afliction struck a cord with Zandu. Neither Kieyanna nor Dhohar could come up with any better idea of solving the problem she presented. They did not have the resolve to kill her while she was no threat. So the party bound her wrists and had her lead them to the ruins where the Kobolds lived.

On the way they found a raven hopping around on the side of the game trail. It appeared to have a broken wing by the way it was acting. Dhohar approached cautitiously and lifted the raven from the ground. He inspected the wing and could find nothing wrong with it. His suspicion was imediately raised and he quickly began casting a spell to determine the nature of this beast. To his shock the raven began to immediatly glow a brigh red hue. He also noticed a white glow at Zandu’s belt where he had stuck the handaxe. And a fainter glow from the bottom of his bolt quill. After another few second the intenity of the aura Dhohar was holding had grown to be extreme. He could understand it was a creature from the realms of Hell.

Just at that time the creature disappeared from the sight of normal vision and Dhohar watched to his horror as it polymorphed to its normal form. The glow surrounding the horns and tail were a dead givaway. Dhohar who was excitedly/alarmededly relaying the location of the imp seemed to be waving at thin air. Zandu was alert and could not detect anything…but he knew it was there. Things don’t just disappear. After watching the aura for a few minutes and it had not moved from the branch Dhohar decided they should just move away. Zandu walked for a full hour with his sword in hand before sheathing it. The imp had not shown himself again.

That night the party camped near the bank of the river in Darkmoon Wood. They slept in shifts to keep an eye on Jeva. She slept the whole night through. Zandu performed a harrowing after eating breakfast. He asked the cards if they would find the children this day. Then he shuffled the cards and laid them out on the ground in front of him. He had three true matches and not opposite matches. The Empty Throne appeared as the first card dealt in the positive past (upper left corner). Then The Teamster came up in the unclear present (middle of the 3×3 square). And finally The Betrayal came up in the negative present (bottom middle). Not a true match but the final card Zandu chose to read was The Hidden Truth. This car appeared in the future column (far right) and in the good position (top row).

Harrowing small

The empty throne gave Zandu’s heart a momentary pause. This card in the good past (top left) position was usually a good token. The ghost on the front of the card represented the spirits of those before us were still with us. But of whose spirit was this card talking about today? Hopefully not the children’s. Hopefully it meant that some lesson one of them had learned from a friend who had passed on would come to aid them in their mission.

The teamster represents a driving force. Zandu took this to mean the need to find the missing children. Very little in the world would stop his companions from following this mission to the end. Even though the card appeared in the unclear, that is to say, neither good nor evil, column, he thought this meant that the companions would see this through until the end…dead or alive.

The final true match card was the betrayal. It represented selfishness incarnate. Envy twists the spirit and leads to ultimate devastation. This card located in the evil present position (bottom row, middle column) meant that something, or someone in their midst would bring about failure to the party. This card is charisma based and most assuredly meant that there was something beautiful that concealed an evil nature. This was the most dangerous card before him now.

The hidden truth card in this position was a great excitement for Zandu. This intelligence based card represented the ability to see past the obvious and discover the truth. Zandu thought of this card as his personal favorite. In the future column and good row he could only take this to mean that their path would be distracted by wrong easy paths and they would have to chose the less obvious truth.

Zandu was pleased, overall, with the hand. With the hidden truth in his future, Zandu, knew he would have a good time figuring out the puzzle. The teamster was a driving force that would bind the group for better or worse and with the spirits watching he was sure they would have success. But the betrayal worried him. What did it mean? Who should he trust? He looked at the girl Jeva, a warewolf, who had pleaded him to kill her. She had survived a terrible fire that burned her friends and caretaker. Should he trust her? He put these thoughts from his mind and began packing for the day.

The party arrived without any issues. Jeva said that the kobolds often came and went from this building. She had never entered nor did she wish to. Rrumble caught the scent of Hollin, brother of Ralla Hebbrandan who had given a shirt for the bear to use as a scent to follow. It appeared the group was on the right trail.

Tall grasses and chunks of stone debris have all but overtaken this small yard. Off to one side, a wooden stable has collapsed into a mound of rotting timbers and moldy straw. The outer wall on the east side has also collapsed, leaving a ragged hole. Bits of foundation-work only suggest the monastery’s original layout, fading memories of a world long ago crushed under the unforgiving heel of time.

Upon searching the courtyard the adventurer’s notice a small broken spear with a wicked barbed tip, discarded by a kobold hunter, with a slight residue of centipede poison still clinging to it.

Rrumble easily followed the scent and led the group through the dark cooridoors of the ruins. He followed the scent down the hall and around a corner. Then turned left into an anti room and through it into a back room with a stone stairwell decending into the dark recesses below.

The constant woodland background noise seems to liquefy in the murk below the surface. Replacing it is the occasional quasi-discernable whisper, moan, hiss, or intermittent echo of jangling chains. The stairs descend more than 20 feet below the surface and no sound penetrates from above. The monastery’s walls are masonry, and there is no source of light anywhere save the forges. The stairway opens into a large rectangular chamber. The stone walls of this area are covered with intricate carvings of dwarves toiling in mines or smithies. In the center of the chamber stands the bottom half of a broken obsidian obelisk. Crude picks, hammers, and other tools lie scattered around the chamber.

A monolith of polished obsidian dedicated to Droskar once stood in this atrium to the monastery’s underground level. Carved with devotions to the Dark Smith and bearing a dismal mural of dwarven supplicants bowing at the Dark Furnace, the monolith was shattered when the
empire fell.

The party decended into the dark depths. Rrumble went ahead and came back to give Dhohar the sign that there was something alive ahead. Dhohar turned and relayed the message. Zandu went down to see what he could see. Even with his disadvantage in the dark, his ability to move quietly was the asset they were counting on. In the orange glow of a forge from another room Zandu could distintly see four bodies. Two were slaving around something in the middle and two Kobolds with spears were keeping watch over them. Zandu quietly crawled back up the stairs and relayed the situation. Agreeing to quickly take out both the guards and hope to capture the workers and ask use them to gather information about the numbers of the Kobolds down here.

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