The Darker Depths

A Plea for Help
In which our heroes begin their journey

The river of Pen’s Ferry is slow and steady, constant as wind in the forests and snow on the mountains. Throughout the day, the people of this town on the river work their separate trades to earn their daily bread. At night, they congregate at homes or inns to talk, tell stories, and play music. Travelers that pass through Pen’s Ferry observe this ritual, talking and drinking with townsfolk as they are warmed by an inn’s roaring fire.

Many of our heroes had found their way to Pen’s Ferry for one reason or another, but for them, this night amongst the city was about to alter their paths forever. On a warm spring day in just a fortnight after the Greengrass festival, a small kobold and her lizard companion were setting up camp in a glade near the town. Her need for glassblowing supplies had brought her to the markets of Pen’s Ferry. Worried about racial acceptance, she decided to remain in the woods, where she felt more comfortable anyways. The druid, Ket heard the ranger’s footsteps as he approached her camp. With a friendly greeting they spoke of the wood and the glass. In the end, the ranger left her with a proposition as he made for town.

Later that day in the various taverns and inns around Pen’s Ferry the ranger, Reus, spoke to the townspeople and travelers as they sipped at their ale and nibbled at roast pheasant and goat’s cheese. In each location, his proposition was met at first with hearty acceptance. His was a rescue: to save a friend that many knew and respected. Reus’ fellow mountainman Bror Thrommson had disappeared and none had heard from him in almost two weeks. Bror had been very near to the Wildfoot territory, and it was most likely that the goblins had taken him captive. At mention of the goblins, many who had shown support became reluctant. In the end, only a few spoke with Reus about joining him in his quest. Among those few were Noiro, the ranger, interested at learning from another experienced man of the forest, Parneh, the mindmage, looking to expand his view of the east, Tem-Lo, the bard, looking for support in these eastern realms for the war in the west, and Caira, the wizard, who wondered if goblin’s teeth held any unusual qualities.

Another man, Leon Rivers, was interested in the compensation such a quest might provide. However, he questioned the character of this “Roofus Farlander”. To test his mettle, Leon inquired of Reus to where he might find a woman’s touch in a large town such as Pen’s Ferry. Reus, not a man of coined passion himself, generally pointed him towards a brothel named the Crimson Petal. And thus, Leon was satisfied.

In the morning, at the Dancing Goat Inn, seven unlikely characters packed their bags and made to depart. Some were bleary eyed, some were humming with excitement. Some were armed to the teeth, others wore the outward appearance of a harmless traveler. Some talked, some listened. Together, they made their way out of Pen’s Ferry and towards Cascia, far into the mountains.

The first day of the trip was uneventful. Being in strange company, most of the party traveled in silence. Tem-lo hummed marching tunes of her homelands, Ket wore her hood up to avoid the light, Leon and Noiro swapped stories about southern Orus, Caira examined a small sample of flesh she had brought along, and Parneh amused himself by making his psicrystal dance patterns in the air.

The second day, the forest became thick. The air became stale and the wind stopped. The party observed the webs in the trees became larger and more dense. Warily, they pressed on, Tem-lo recounting the story of a fearless warrior who fought off a spider the size of a horse in one of his adventures. As the sun rose and started to fall in the sky, the group was set upon by spiders. Dangling from threads, they dropped down from their webs.

Quickly, the heroes reacted. The bard lit a torch and started to wave it in front of the largest spider (which stood a good three feet off the ground). Fire reflected in its eight eyes, it became skittish. The psion reached out with his mind, finding the tiny sparks of intelligence in one of the spiders and snuffing it out. In the rear of the party, two more of the arachnids were driven off with trident and scimitar.

Driven off, the spiders made for a retreat. Caira attempted to shoot one down, but ended up almost knocking the brains out of Parneh. However Leon’s aim was true and the spider fell back to the ground, stuck with a bolt from his crossbow.

The poison from the spiders was salvaged by the skills of Ket and Noiro. Caira, to the disgust of the others, cut out a spinneret and placed it in her pack. Adrenaline rush subsided, the party continued to Cascia.

In Cascia, they met Pontius, an old scholarly gentleman who knew a bit more about the goblin tribe. After conversing with Reus, Pontius suggested the party stay at an old fort by the name of Sunwatch, giving them a map and a description of the building. Goods in hand, they set out with the dawn the next day…

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