Four guildies were hired to guard a caravan to the town of Diobel west of Absalom. It didn’t pay much but the four needed the coin. The journey was expected to be 7 days there, one overnight, then 7 days back. They were to be paid 1 gp per day on the road and double on any day with fighting.
The trip to Diobel was largely boring except for a brief encounter with some gillmen, a wife abuser, and a harpy – not all at the same time. The gillmen attempted a raid on the passing caravan but their leader was charmed by Archie who convinced him to return to the sea. The domestic violence situation was handled by Dirrasha without disrupting the caravan at all. The harpy was the only problem. It flew overhead one night and after getting shot with one of Kaleb’s arrows, started singing. almost everyone was charmed by the creature including each of the guildies. It flew in circles attacking the few people not affected by its song. When it thougt that it had everyone cowed it landed on a wagon to eat one of the drivers. That was it’s undoing. After it’s song stopped, the four hired guards snapped out of it and killed the creature thus earning their 2 gp for the day.
Diobel is a stepping-stone to the most cosmopolitan city in the Inner Sea region, yet its residents are earthy,
honest folk. Whether they’re oyster farmers or smugglers, dockworkers or shopkeepers, all of Diobel’s residents toil in the imposing shadow of the Citadel, the beating heart of a massive network of trade commissions operating under the auspices of the secretive Kortos Consortium. Some of these simple folk, however, trace their ancestry to the first explorers to arrive on Kortos after Aroden lifted it from the sea f loor. Compared to the history of Diobel’s roots, the grand houses of Absalom are but upstart latecomers, and many a haughty visitor has been humbled by a reminder of this fact, murmured with a wry smile by a weathered man or woman shucking oysters on the quay.
The merchant had business with three different people in town. The first two business deals proceeded without any trouble and two carts were emptied of their contents. The third, Rollyo was missing however. An inkeeper and part time merchant named Borlis mentioned that there had been some disappearances lately and Rollyo left town a few days ago to check on his relatives. The Parson’s operated a grub farm about 2 hours away and were rumored to be among the missing. The merchant convinced them to look into Rollyo’s disappearance so they could conclude there business and head back to Absalom.
After agreeing, Dirrasha, Kaleb, Archie, and Tergum checked out the merchant’s building. They learned from a street urchin that he left with his clerk a couple days earlier and hadn’t come back. Breaking into the building didn’t reveal any clues so they left and decided to hike to the grub farm before it got dark.
Finding the grub farms was easy. As they descended into the hollow though, 5 people were spotted hiding on either side of the trial. The five ran away when they were shouted at. Dirrasha briefly gave chase then returned. They didn’t seem interesting in their peasant dress and clubs.
The Parson’s grub farm revealed a few clues. The Parson’s were missing and a chair was on its side. There may have been a struggle and there was some mud tracked into the hut. Tergum and Kaleb followed the tracks back through the grub fields deeper into the hollow. At a community amphitheater they spotted another five peasants hiding in the trees on the other side. Archie put one of them to sleep and Dirrasha ran through the woods to engage. Kaleb killed another with an arrow and Tergum ran up into the amphitheater clearing.
Then surprisingly Archie was put to sleep and another 19 peasants armed mostly with clubs broke cover and charged. Dirrasha partially surrounded hit with a stick. Tergum was engaged and a burly man swept his leg putting him on the ground. Three separate fights broke out. Dirrasha and Tergum were each on their own fighting and Kaleb stuck with Archie and woke up the tiefling as some of the mob approached.
The fight quickly turned against them with Tergum decked and Dirrasha grappled. Then Archie charmed the adept in charge and convinced him to talk things over. The discovered that these people were all worshippers of He Who Dwells Below. Named Izcozicomecoatl, the god was unknown to the group. It seemed these people were forcibly taking folks to meet this god. That looked like their fate also. They also learned that Borlis was in on it and he would send people out this way and the cultists would take them and leave their gear as payment. Also some of the hillbillies spoke Hallit instead of common. Archie convinced the adept to let them keep their stuff and they would come along quietly.
They hiked east after leaving some of the cultists behind. After about an hour dusk fell and the cultists took out hooded lanterns to light the way. Then as they reached an area of rock outcroppings and it was clear they were heading to one narrow cleft in particular, the four captured prisoners scattered. They were pursued but not easily.
Sometimes trying to run away and hide and sometimes fighing back, the four prisoners managed to thin out the ranks of their capturers. Most of the cultists were obviously untrained and poor fighters. The adept got off a few more spells but ended up dead. The few remaining cultists ran away.
The cleft led to a hidden path. It’s only guard was a gelatinous pillar. Kaleb walked right into it but busted out. Then the pillar engulfed Archie. That was it’s last victory because shortly after it succumbed to the sling stones and arrows. It fell over and released the tiefling.
The path lead to a small valley between the bare rock faces. They were being led by Dirrasha with her lantern and saw a bald woman in a white tunic approaching on a cobbled path. She was carrying an ornate silver pitcher and a staff topped with a golden cube. She beckoned them forward and led them back up the path to a large stone carved into a cube. She welcomed them in the name of the Mass that Dwells Below. She offered them a drink from the pitcher and became visibly upset when they refused. About this time, three of them noticed a gelatinous cube peeking around the large stone carving.
So the group attacked slaying the harmless woman immediately. The gelatinous cube slimed forward. The four of them stayed out of reached and killed it without much trouble. Then they picked over the woman’s body before moving past the stone cube. Dirrasha stayed behind to pick up strange square gold coins scattered around the base of the statue.
Tergum, Archie, and Kaleb left the path and walked directly to a statue of a gelatinous pillar. it was also surrounded by writings in Hallit on the base. Nobody could read it so they moved laterally to a carved sphere. it was also on a based with Hallit carved upon it. They surmised that there must be gelatinous balls. The left that statue and walked to the end of the small valley. There was a temple carved into the rock with five arched doorways.
They entered through the far left arch. The short hallway led to a rectangular room with three men in robes sitting on a stone bench. They were murmuring in Common, " Praise be the whole. Praise be the Mass that Dwells Below." The three worshippers ignored the party.
To be continued next session…