The road through the hills was winding, so it took nearly half a day for our heroes to make it a mere twenty miles. Once back on the road, the travelling became easier. A few hours outside of Red Larch, they came upon a camp tucked into some trees quite a ways off the main road. They slowed their pace and studied, wondering who these people were. Most of the warriors carried strange bone swords with dozens of teeth along the edges, while others had shields that seem to glitter like sea water beneath sunlight. Tanwyn detected the presence of magic, plentiful, though weak. Samera got off his horse, almost thinking to approach the camp and investigate, but his companions convinced him it may better to get in their much needed rest and restock before they greeted strange people on the road.
Finally, the heroes arrived back at Red Larch. It had been several days since they’d left and it was a sight for sore eyes. They rested, stocked up and ended the day at the tavern, shaking off the horrors and challenges of their long trek.
While the others took their much deserved rest, Tanwyn decided to scope out this new town, as she had yet to visit Red Larch. As a collector of magical things, she searched the town using her nearly innate ability to detect magic. Upon finding a tiny glimmer of magic at the Swinging Sword Inn, Tanwyn found a chambermaid working quietly in one of the upper floors. After disguising herself with a quick spell, Tanwyn attempted to charm the girl and steal the trinket she had stashed in her dress. The trick did not work, however, and the girl quickly ran away. Tanwyn was not discouraged and instead sent her familiar, Fuss, to follow the girl. The trinket was stashed away and Fuss quickly plucked it from its hiding place and carried it to his master. Tanwyn was pleased, but tired and didn’t spend much time studying her new acquisition.
In the morning, our heroes made their way down for breakfast. Kayleesa, the innkeeper, stopped Tanwyn as she went to join her new companions and handed her a note that had apparently appeared in her inbox sometime during the night. The note, written by a girl named Pirette, pleaded with Tanwyn to return the totem that she had stolen and that Pirette’s life was at risk should she choose to keep it. It also set up a meeting near the mine in town for that evening. Tanwyn decided to inspect this totem a little closer and realized she had seen this kind of magic before. It was a Water Oracle spell; a type of magic that blessed a small pool of water. The water could then be split up and put into separate containers and whomever held the pieces of water would be able to communicate with one another over vast distances.
Tanwyn decided to inform the others of the recent events, while keeping the specifics of how she obtained the totem a secret. Lavinia wasn’t too keen on waiting around another day while the key they had found burned a hole in her pocket. Samera and Nundro, however, were not as willing to leave when someone’s life could be in danger. They knew that they couldn’t really wait around while the missing delegates could be in danger, but they had to try something. At first, they tried to search the town for Pirette. However, she hadn’t shown up for work that day and when they found out where she was staying, her room had been cleared out. This was odd, to say the least. Their last chance was to check out the meeting place, but this too turned up nothing. The day was wasting away and our heroes needed to return to the Sacred Stone Monastery to investigate the mysterious door they had found. Tanwyn, however, couldn’t will herself to leave without seeing this resolved.
So, they parted ways. Our heroes made their way safely back to the monastery and went inside. They decided a quick inspection of the abandoned building might turn up something useful, and they did find some items of note, but nothing pointed to what happened to the monks or where they went. When the day was beginning to wane, they boarded themselves up in the dormitory and rested for the night.
In the meantime, Tanwyn went to the meeting spot that evening. There she came upon Pirette, quietly waiting. Pirette was hesitant and fearful while Tanwyn asked her questions. Then she pleaded, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” The water behind her began to bubble and three men rose from the depths. One in particular was dressed in light blue robes and seemed to be their leader. He demanded Tanwyn return the totem and she conceded it. He also asked about her new travelling companions and why they were not with her. Tanwyn said they had gone to investigate another location. The stranger said that he would spare her life if Tanwyn agreed to retrieve them and bring them to his camp. She agreed and the men retreated as they had come.
Tanwyn had spent most of the day resting, so her spirits were high and she decided to make the trek to the monastery. Luck was with her and nothing came out of the dark night to greet her. Within half the night, she was outside the monastery. Her trickster nature got the best of her and she sent the invisible Fuss in before herself. Fuss tugged hard on Nundro’s beard, startling him and waking the others. She laughed, but they didn’t seem to see the humour and were unsure how to react. Tanwyn shrugged it off and they finished their rest. In the morning, they made their way to the door and thankfully, the key worked as they’d hoped. The great doors creaked open and the heroes made their way down the long, winding stair case.
At the bottom of the stairs stood two monks waiting for them. Using quiet foot steps, Tanwyn and Samera got the drop on the unsuspecting monks, taking them out before they could make a move. They now found themselves in a unique passageway. Instead of the usual circle like tunnels of the dwarven mines above, this dark passageway was nearly perfectly square, as if carved out by ancient, expert hands. The passageway led them to a massive chasm, over a hundred feet both deep and wide. A single stone bridge zigzagged across. With some trepidation, Lavinia made her way out to the bridge, but the silent gargoyles looking on took notice. Three of the many statues came to life, took to the air and battle begun.