Having recently returned from Tosasth with a healthy reward for the killing for the spider lord Mettik, the raiders took time to rest. The gold recovered was split eight ways with one share of 4,750 gp each given to Aderian, Azrak, Ferris, Hocuspo, Jerker, Nate, Ollie, and Tienarth.
Aderian fetched the trident he’d commissioned. The fine figure of an octopus formed four tongs and curled around the steel shaft. It’s forehead bore a sparkling emerald. The shaft employed a fine bolt that allowed breaking it two for easy portage. Tienarth set about enchanting it but failed. The weapon was set aside for another try, but the party was eager to return to the Tosasth valley to search for more adventure.
Merilla’s Magic Tower
The first month of the year is reserved for The Judge, a time when one’s actions come upon particular scrutiny. It foreshadowed the challenges the met a few days after leaving on the 8th day. As they had many time before, they trekked to the ruined tower. The next day (1/9), they walked to the river camp while Tienarth explored in the form of a flying dragon. Along the way they met a large band of rough figures. The group consisted only of Aderian, Ferris, Hocuspo and Nate. A fight with 40 brigands did not seem feasible. Hocuspo produced a haste spell and they ran off down a path, eventually looping back to the road. They spent an uneventful night at the river camp. Tienarth reported finding nothing new of interest.
On the 10th, the party waited while Tienarth explored by air. He returned to tell about a fortification atop a mesa (hex 0500) which lay beside the road going from Tosasth to Doukreg. The next day, the lot of them walked up the road to find a narrow path that climbed the side of the mesa. Presently, they came to a 50′ tall tower with a small building at its foot. Double doors beckoned, one of which was covered in runes. As they crowded around the door, Tienarth produced his magical glasses in order to read the runes. Instantly, a ball of fire exploded upon them!
Most of them turned instinctively from blast, minimizing the damage. Ferris, wearing a ring that protected from fire, was hardly hurt at all. Unfortunately, the blast centered on Hocuspo. He was incinerated where he stood. When they got over their collective shock, they dug him a grave and Nate gave a blessing.
Now they felt some anger towards the keeper of the tower, and beyond wanting to raid it for its treasures, they thought of revenge. They found the doors unlocked. Tienarth and Nate waited outside as Ferris and Aderian entered. The interior contained many books and magician’s worktable. A brass statue stood in one corner. Ferris examined doors that seemed to lead to the bottom of the tower.
Aderian pondered the strange statue. The former pirate had always been rash, violent and somewhat less than the average man when it came to intelligence. Tienarth wondered what Aderian was up to as he was seen to pull out his heavy iron ball. Aderian hurled it with the strength of a giant that his magical girdle provided. It clanged off of the statue that sprang to life then ran at unnatural speed at Aderian. Before he could act, the golem had hammered Aderian and showered him with molten metal.
Meanwhile, Tienarth had cast a haste spell, but judging by extreme speed of the golem, they had little hope of outrunning it if the monster pursued. Regardless, Nate made the attempt. He headed off at double speed. The extra speed did help Aderian pull a potion from his bag and drink it. He turned to a gaseous form, thus impervious to physical attack. Ferris dashed on speedy legs out of the room to stand next to Tienarth who then used dimension door to get hundreds of yards away.
Fortunately, the golem did not pursue them, and they returned to the river camp. In the morning (1/12), the old elf used healing magic on Aderian and Ferris. He was angry, patient and determined to get into the tower. They returned to the tower, but kept a distance. Tienarth used a magical wizard eye to explore the tower interior. “This is how we have to do it every time,” he proclaimed. “I don’t like my investments not paying off.” He was most angered by the death of his protege, Hocuspo.
The invisible eye squeezed around the locked door and up the tower. He saw treasure, strange insectoids and a small dragon. On the top floor he viewed the scene of a woman laying comatose in a bed. Two armored figures seemed to be arguing over her, daggers in hand. For the first time, he noticed the only windows in the tower. A rope hooked to bars in the window descended down the outside.
Here was the object on which he wanted revenge, the wizard of the tower. He made himself invisible and scaled the tower using the rope. Pausing, he listened to the argument. “Hakim, my brother, it is my right to kill her,” said one. “But I insist that I deal the killing blow, Jafar,” said the other, “I won’t share the bounty!”
Not only revenge, but desire for the bounty played upon Tienarth’s mind. The raiders has only recently earned a healthy reward for killing the spider lord. He produced his want of paralyzation, and while still invisible, he made it produce a blazing bolt at each of the assassins. The seemed to shrug off the effect, but a second blast stiffened their limbs. Tienarth motioned for Ferris to join him.
Up in the tower bedroom, the wizard remained motionless. They searched the room, finding some jewelry, a magic sword but no spellbook. The two agreed this evil wizard was surely worthy of murdering considering the deadly traps and the bounty on her head. Ferris slit her throat. The assassins were also killed. Unfortunately, no evidence of the bounty was found on the assassins. They carried the three bodies back to the river camp and buried them with the idea of recovering them if they could find who would pay a bounty.
Discovering a Mistake
Two days later (1/14), they handed over two rings, two sets of leather armor and the sword. Benabil, the item-identifying halfling in their employ, looked over the items. Both rings bore a familiar bat motif, and Benabil confirmed they were rings of protection. The suits of armor were also enchanted. The sword was of a particular style that Benabil recognized. “This is the work of the mage Merilla! Where did you find this?” he asked. They related the story of slaying the wizard and the halfling became quite concerned. Merilla was a mage with much fame and known for her good works. He advised them to consult with Lah.
They immediately returned to the river camp to dig up Merilla’s body. By the 19th, they were before Lah and asking for a resurrection. They waited with some apprehension while Lah performed the ceremony. When it concluded, Merilla came to them and explained she had followed them since her murder, an unseen phantom. Perhaps Lah had spoken on their behalf, perhaps she was remarkably forgiving. She took no revenge on them, though hinted that had she not been resurrected, her vengeance would have been terrible.
Everything taken from Merilla was returned to her, including the sword. Tienarth asked Lah for the resurrection of Hocuspo, to which he assented. Turning into a dragon, Tienarth flew swiftly back to the tower to dig up the mage’s body. He, too, was restored to life. Unfortunately, his spell book and wand were lost in the fire. With much gratitude, Hocuspo made a donation to the church.
- 2 Rings of Protection +1
- 2 Leather Armor +1
- 2 Assassins 910 xp
- Characters 182 xp
- Aderian 200 xp
- Ferris 200 xp
- Hocuspo 200 xp
- Nate 200 xp
- Tienarth 182 xp