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Basilisk Hills Breakdown Session Six: Something in the Water

This is the session writeup of the sixth recorded session of Basilisk Hills Breakdown, as recorded by Velsind (Evil Jeff). The audio recording of this session can be found here.

On the morning of the 21st day of the month, the northern exploration group continues on their way. As they make a turn to the south to cover another area of the northern expanse, they note two things. First, they see evidence of a lake through the hills, probably under two miles away to the east. The second, more pressing thing, is a wyvern occupying a nest on a hill. The wyvern is wary, watching the group. The mercs are split into two groups and sent to opposite sides of the nest to flank the monster and Sir Keyan moves forward and starts waving his lance about to try and keep the monster's attention on him. Soon the monster, feeling threatened by all the movement, flies up and heads towards Sir Keyan. Seeing the monster aim for him, he charges ahead. Barbat the Ironskin begins to charge along behind him.

The mercs let loose their volley of arrows and manage to score several hits, definitely wounding the creature and enraging it. Sir Keyan meets the beast and attempts to score a lance hit but misses. The wyvern lands on the knight and bites down, injuring its prey. Barbat rides up and, as he passes by, swings his sword and beheads the beast. The group harvests a few parts from the wyvern and checks the nest on the next hill. They are rewarded with 5000 gp coins for their trouble.

As they continue south, Vallistra halts the group as they pass by a small cliff face. The sharp eyes of the Godborn located a vein of gold from a recently washed out area of the cliff face. The party makes note of the area’s location and continues their travels. They continue south for a while longer, then camp for the night.

On the 22nd day of the month, the party wakes to a cloudy day, with grey rain clouds moving up from the south. They travel for a short while to the southeast then make a turn back to the north. They note an area of hills to their east that are wooded as they travel. It is a short while later that they come across another set of hills that have had some erosion from previous rains which has now revealed an outcropping of granite. The stone has a very fine pink hue to it. Some quick guesstimates of size lead the adventurers to feel that the granite might be more valuable than the vein of gold they found.

Travelling north again, the group bears a little more to the east and ends up near the shore of the lake they spotted the day prior. Spending a little time observing the lake reveals the unusual nature of this body of water; it has no inlet or outlet, yet seems to be fresh, no alkali smell is in the air. They see a rather large tree floating in the still water. They begin to turn away when Nerghui cries out and the party watches the log move, ripples moving away from the non-wooden item. What can only be thought of as a head with a spade-like shape rises up from the supposed front as it moves.

Further observation leads the group to feel that this creature's hide might be rather valuable, so a plan is hatched. A group is dispatched to the west to drag back the wyvern corpse. They place the corpse near the shore and lace it with some poison then splash the water to see if they can get the beast to come in their direction. The creature doesn't move any closer which maddens Nerghui. He begins using his ring of water walking and runs out ten to fifteen feet from the shore in an arc to further entice the creature. After a few moments of this, the creature submerges. They pull back and wait but nothing seems to happen. They decided to pull back from the lakeshore to where they can watch the tainted bait. After almost four hours, the creature rises back up, further away than it was previously. The group decided to camp for the night to watch the lake. During the night, the rain clouds finally release their bounty, and a steady light rain begins to soak all.

The dawn of the 23rd day sees the explorers trying to dry out, the rain having stopped during the early morning hours. It is during this time that the mercs begin to make it known that they really desire to be back in town on the 27th to partake in the festival (and, more likely, not be sleeping on wet ground somewhere in the wilderness). Leadership agreeing, all is packed up and the group beings to move north again. The wyvern corpse is still there but no sign of the creature is seen. The group then travels towards the east along the northern shore of the lake, occasionally capturing glimpses of the creature floating in the lake, nowhere near the poisoned corpse. As they begin to round the lake shore to go southward, they come across three granite grave markers. The markers are crudely done, and it is noted that the ground does not look like it is disturbed. The names on the markers are roughhewn and yield the names "Grimria", "Venka", and "Unknown". A quick prayer is said over the graves, names taken down to have a sage look into them, and they head south along the eastern shore.

As they look to the west, they finally see the creature rise up out of the water and grab the corpse. The creature seems to be close to thirty foot long with hide that has seen some action in the past. It disappears back into the water out of sight. The decision is made to continue exploring and hope that the creature comes out of the water later to die, if that is the case. Most likely, the group will return later to check on the creature. Towards late afternoon, the party comes up a rise and is surprised to find a cave to one side with an old man sitting in the mouth, staring towards the south. Following his gaze, they note a ring of standing stones less than a mile away on top of another hill to the south.

Approaching the man, they greet him then begin to converse with him. It becomes obvious that the man is no longer in a state of mind that has normal thoughts but does not seem deranged or dangerous. He speaks of living out here for longer than he can remember and that all the creatures are his friends. A quick look of panic crosses the faces of the party, and someone asks about the creature in the lake. The old man, easily 70 years old, calls the creature "Gultowach" and that it is his friend, and he speaks with the creature. A fleeting look of concern crosses a few faces, and the conversation is quickly turned to other topics. The hermit states that he is waiting for his lady to return so he can rejoin her and live with her again. After some further description, Vallistra tells the group that he feels the standing stones are a gate to Fairy, specifically the Winter Court, and the woman is from there.

Asking to go see the ring, the hermit is glad to do so. They travel a few hills over and stand outside the ring. The ring is composed of nine stones, each about man sized and surrounding an area of about twenty foot in diameter. Nerghui enters the circle, and the hermit joins him, dancing away. Those inside the circle are greeted by a sharp drop in temperature and very gusty cold winds. Those outside feel nothing but can see the clothing and hair being whipped about by some force. This confirms things to Vallistra and points out that rings are not always active. It usually takes some event, time of year, or using magic to get the gate to open to the Fairy realm. The party decided to camp for the night, ending the 23rd day.

The group returning from Highglade awaken east of the lake covering the old road between Liwil and Junction on the 22nd day. The grey skies with the promise of rain hang over the lake. Since Joferth needs to be back by the 24th of the month, the group decided to return to Liwil but scout out some of the area around the lake. They share the list of herbs and plants that the owlfolk had given them in case they find some along their route home. Just south of the southern lakeshore, they spot a huge nest in a tall tree with two giant hawks in and near it. Not getting the sense that the raptors are hostile, the party continues on.

They return to Liwil just before dark. The town is no longer in the uproar it was prior to leaving but the resentment is still there. There have been no new murders in the town, and they note that people are walking in at least pairs wherever they go. The party tasks Joferth with two items, to which he would be compensated nicely for. First, if he finds a person who would be a good candidate for a seneschal for Black Pit Keep that he is to send word or the person their way. Second, the group would like to have some sort of meeting with the leadership of Dry Gulch. If the party is to set up some sort of government around there, they would like to understand the structure used in Dry Gulch and see if that might be used here. They spend the night in the inn, the rain tapping on the roof and lulling them to sleep.

As the 23rd day dawns, the party decides to make use of a few days before letting the mercs off for the festival on the 27th and 28th for exploring more area around the keep. Knowing that the orcs are in the area to the northwest of the keep, the plateau with the strong leyline to the southwest of the keep and the Basilisk Knights keeping the area to their south safe, learning what else is nearby seems to be a good idea for securing their claim. They decide to explore the area southeast of the keep (this area being northwest from Liwil) and then move northward which would allow them to, theoretically, meet up with the other party.

Everything is rather uneventful as they explore the land. As they begin to look for somewhere to camp in the light forest area they are in, a tremor is felt, and they notice a mound of dirt heading in their direction. The only thing they can tell is that some massive creature is burrowing underground and heading straight towards the party. The horses begin to become uneasy and nervous. It is decided to get the party into the trees and let the horses run on their own which leads to a mad scramble for all. As the party gets onto the lower limbs, the creature erupts from the ground and tries to eat one of the horses. Somehow, the creature misses and the horse gallops off. The party observes this creature, easily 15 foot long with large, armored plates lining its body, small beady eyes, and one set of plates rising vertically from its back. Immediately, the party and mercs begin to fire arrows towards the creature. It is noted later, by Velsind, that the mercs might need to be paid a higher wage as several shots find the mark in the smallest gaps in the armor and around the eyes of the creature. The arrows sink in so deep that the creature is quickly enraged by the pain. It tries to grab at a different horse, the razor sharp, sword-like nails of its front feet, similar to a mole's, lash out and miss yet again, probably due to the sudden pain it finds itself in.

Another volley of arrows is loosed and a few more find their mark, sinking in deeply. Blood begins to flow from the creature, and it decides to free itself from the ground to try and find where these attacks are coming from. It is at this point two separate actions begin. Amagar moves over to Velsind and pulls out a potion of flying from the warlock’s backpack and drinks it. Orpheus decided to utilize his skills to get down behind the tree he was in, then stealth over to the monster for a surprise attack. Just as Amagar pulls out his sword to start flying towards the beast, Orpheus moves up and sinks his blade deep into the creature, which shudders then collapses, dead. Amagar changes his movement to fly after some of the horses in order to round them up. He is encouraged, as he returns some of the steeds, to fly up as high as he feels safe then look around. Going up just over 200 feet in the air, he takes a quick look as the sun sets on the far western horizon. To the west, he sees the plateau that has been discussed, something similar to a sinkhole is visible on it at this height. To the south, he sees the glint of water from the river that is known to be south of their position. There is nothing but woods to the north as far as he can see. It is to the east that he spies the most interesting thing. A tower is visible in the general area of the Darkwoods, approximately 30 miles away. The party camps for the night, dealing with harvesting items from the creature (a bulette) on the morrow.

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