Present: Erisanthe, Morag, Nathair Cummins
It starts with greed. Erisanthe Jones, greedy for knowledge, thirstily drinking in long lost lore and stories, exploring the land and recording it in her maps and her logs. She ends up in Fallsport with Morag Mac-Aengus because of a shipwreck. Erisanthe, steeped already in the rich and exciting history of Glen Rose, begins to think about the massive hoarde of dragon gold sitting in Old Baldy mountain. Dragon gold built the capital city of Blackwall, the Jewel of the Northern March. Dragon gold brought artisans and materials, people and commerce. Over a hundred years ago, the massive red dragon was vanquished, and still the gold keeps The Glen prosperous. Surely, thinks Erisanthe, there must be some left in the tunnels under Old Baldy. It would also be a very interesting place to make a map of as well. She presses her friend Morag Mac-Aengus into helping her, because of the Priestess’s muscle, but also because the shipwreck is her fault, and she owes Eris. Looking for one more companion, Eris hires a man with natural magical talent, Nathair Cummins, a former acolyte of Tyr, looking for a quick pile of gold.
The three hire a halfling boat to take them down to Snipe Island. From there, they can go North across the moor to Old Baldy. The journey down the river is pleasant enough, Eris asks the boatman about what things are in the moor these days. The boatman recounts tales of Granny Bree, a hag who lives in the Eastern part of the moor. Trolls pay her tribute, and walking scarecrows come in the middle of the night to steal halfling children from Snipe Island. She employs an ogre named “Sonny” who the boatman calls ‘a smart ogre’. Morag gets agitated about the children being taken, and Erisanthe promises her that they will come back to stop her. Morag tunes out during the rest of the conversation, watching the water or the sky, trying to stop thinking about it.
The young people of Snipe Island, the boatman relates to Eris and Nathair, used to dare each other to go inside and bring something back. And they would.. they would return with silver cups, or coins. Eventually, though, strange, disgusting lizard like men would kill any intruders brutally, and the practice was abandoned. Morag absently relates from her family lore, that these are Trogldyes, strong, putrid man-lizards that worship Dragons. She recounts that her great great great grandfather Vargas beat them into submission before they took to the dragon’s lair, and that they had a bizarre statue covered in gold and dragon scales.
When the boat is within sight of Snipe Island, the moor erupts with a troop of Bullywugs and their tame giant frog, who attack the boat and its passengers with an air of bravado. Nathair is grabbed by the frog’s tongue and held fast. Had he been a halfling, he would have been swallowed completely. The battle continues to be nearly deadly, everyone being hurt badly by the vicious spears of the frog men, but gets turned when a bullywug is hit by lightning from heaven in response to attacking and hurting Morag. The lot of them are dispatched, and the wounded and shaken companions are brought to Snipe Island by a grateful boatman.
Snipe Island is a grouping of huts built on stilts above the marsh, connected by wooden bridges, and populated by ‘free’ Halflings. Though they a prickly bunch, they recieve the group warmly, fed, and given a place to sleep. The companions tend to their wounds, feast on the Halflings’ wonderful cooking, and let the stress of the travel leave them as they settle down to sleep.
Morag awakens with a start to find Eris stirring from her trance. Something is off in the night, though sitting and listening within their hut reveals nothing. Quietly, the pair chance a look outside. In the moonlight, a figure quietly steps across one of the bridges. It looks up at Morag and Eris, revealing itself to be a male ogre. He holds a finger to his lips and Morag drops instantly into sleep. Eris, protected by her Elven blood from the enchantment, shrinks back into the hut, and does not dare to leave until morning.
In the light of day, it is revealed that another child is missing. Morag, dredging into family lore again, figures that the figure was an Oni.. a magic wielding ogre. She knows that aside from the fact that the Oni eats children, the Hag will also need children: she eats them, and then gives birth to another baby soon after. This baby will look just like the other one, and will grow as usual, until 13 years have passed, when it will turn into a hag, and kill everyone in its family. There is a moment of silence as everyone recalls the words of the boatmen… how many children have they replaced? Morag decides to write a note to her family. They may barely speak to her, but this is information that they will be interested in. She pays a halfling a gold piece to bring it up the river to Blackwall. Everyone gathers themselves together, and heads off across the moor towards Old Baldy.
As the party reaches the first sign of non moor terrain, they see a tall, emaciated figure on the top of a hill. Nathair travels up to look at it when it doesn’t move, discovering it to be a scarecrow, with nary a field in sight, definately put there to be visible to the halflings. When Morag and Eris catch up, everyone regards the scarecrow. It does not move. Morag goes to push it over, and it claws at her viciously, getting hit by lightning for drawing her blood. While she fights it, Eris and Nathair argue about whether or not firing a flaming crossbow bolt will hurt the thing, as Morag’s hammer is really not doing any actual damage to the animated straw man. Eris lights the crossbow bolt on fire, and Nathair fires it unerringly at the thing, but it does not catch on fire, and the bolt doesn’t do any damage to it whatsoever. Eris finally has had enough, and smashes her lantern over it, setting it aflame. As it becomes engulfed in fire, Nathair explodes it with a well timed spell. Morag, beaten to hell, sits down and refuses to move until they rest.
Arriving at Old Baldy, the cave into it is passable, but there is a small section of rubble and collapsed rock that has been there for a long long time. Searching through here while Eris is perusing and copying down cave paintings, a very old shield is found, which turns out to be Morgan’s shield, lost here for a 100 years. Erisanthe happily takes it as a relic, to return it to the Blackwall. After some travel time, the rough cave walls give way to worked stone. A sound up ahead makes everyone pause.
With little warning, an enormous cloud of bats comes flying through the caves. Nathir steps in front of Morag, and unleashes a firey spray, killing many of them at once, but there are still so many coming. Morag, flailing ineffectually with her hammer, lets out a shout that sounds like thunder, rolling through the caves and announcing their presence to anyone within who was not already aware of them. The noise kills many more, but the amount of bats is overwhelming. Nathair yells out that someone is controlling them, making them attack the trio. Eris unwinds her blanket, and uses it to capture the remaining cloud of bats, lying on it, desperately trying to keep them contained. Regretfully, Morag and Nathair destroy the trapped animals with weapons and feet. Panting, and checking for wounds, everyone pauses to get their bearings. It is then that the low growl, rising up into a roar, fills the cavern, and makes them still, blood running cold.
Against all common sense, the party heads further down the corridor, towards the growl, with Morag in the front. Ahead, there is a faint orange glow, and a warm breeze fans across everyone. Soon, the corridor opens out into a huge cavern with a huge black lake of magma crust, with cracks showing glowing lava beneath. Along the outer edge are numerous other corridors leading out, enough to easily get lost within the mountain. In the center of the lake is a massive island, which is nevertheless dwarfed by the sheer size of the cave. Curled up on the island is a red dragon.
Athough everyone tries to be quiet, it is watching the trio as they stand transfixed, trying to figure out what to do next. It asks a question in draconic, and Nathair holds a conversation with it. He tells the other two that the dragon wants them to take a message back, that it wants tribute, to keep it from destroying houses and farms and cities. As they flee, the party can hear the dragon’s laughter chasing them down the passageway, filling the mountain.
Eris relates, once the adrenaline wears off, that this dragon must have been the offspring of the one Vargas and Morgan killed so long ago.. that after 100 years of growing, it would now begin to seek to build its lair, and that the lair would begin to respond, which is why the volcano is active again. It needs to be killed now, before it grows any more powerful. The three take a moment to look around them, and see that they are in a room filled with dragon bones. Eris says that the room needs to be cleared out, and at Morag’s confusion, begins to recite the history of the draco liche that once plagued the Glen. In mid lecture, putrid smelling lizard men leap from the walls where they were hidden, attacking with claws and teeth. Eris falls quickly, Nathair and Morag desperatley fighting for their lives. Once they kill enough of the Troglydytes, the remaining run into the blackness, calling for help. Morag picks up Eris, and they leave as quickly as they can.
The mountain has many twists and turns, and only Eris’ maps and Morag’s navigation skills get them out, and into the open air. As there are no trees, Nathair and Morag find a crevice to hide in, and bring Eris back to consciousness. The night is spent huddled there, listening to the giants in the thunder peaks playing, and watching the Will O’ The Wisps try to lure them into the moors to their death.
The decision is made to still go and see what else there is inside the mountain, looking for scattered gold. The stories say that the Trogs have piles of the stuff piled in front of an idol. A quick trip back to Snipe island has Morag buying a small basket-shaped boat, and Eris replacing her broken lantern with a hooded lantern, so that she and Morag can lead Nathair around in the darkness inside the mountain, and let the light out when he needs to see. Morag navigates them upstream towards the waterfall, eventually needing to take to land again when rowing becomes impossible. The evening is spent pleasantly: Morag ends up securing a whole line of trout, and Eris retrieving berries and tubers from the forest. Traps and alarms are set up in a perimeter around the camp, and all three take turns at watch.
During the night, Morag hears and sees a group of vaguely man shaped things come down from the north, and Nathair sees them at the end of the night going back north. The tracks from this group lead to the unescapable conclusion that these are the Trogs, out and hunting in the night, and they lead right to the waterfall, and back into Old Baldy.
Once again under the stone, the women lead Nathair along in the darkness, so as not to broadcast their presence to the Trogs. Eventually, the tunnel leads out into a cave. A strangely misshapen lump of stone that is obviously meant to be a dragon stands within it, decorated with old dragon scales and piles of shiny things: silver cutlery, cups, jewelery, coins. Many other tunnels lead out of this cave, and the Trogs can be heard eating inside them. After some discussion, Eris and Nathair go a little way down the corridor, and Morag stands inside the cave, and uses a spell to make a thunderous noise, intending to be loud and intimidating. They start coming out, and they never.. seem.. to stop. A quick count shows at least 40, maybe more of them, as they just keep pouring from the tunnels. Morag, heart sinking, backs down the hallway to stand in front of her companions, keeping to the plan. When she gets there, Eris spreads some ball bearings in the hallway in front of them. There’s a pause, as the Trogs figure themselves out. Then, the strongest and toughest looking of them come down the hall. The first one in the wave falls on the ball bearings, and the next steps over him to confront Morag. He is so strong and effective that if she were not of Orc heritage, she would have fallen. Her stubborn will keeps her from dying in the first volley, and as she heals herself, she can hear Nathair call out for her to defend them, and let them do all the work.. and so she does this. Her shield and her hammer keep them from attacking Eris and Nathair, and they use their bows and spells to kill the waves of enemies.
Eventually, they stop coming. Then the tribute comes: piles of silver are placed at the opening to the tunnel. Deciding that this is probably preferable to trying to kill the entire population of Trogs, the three gather the treasure up, and leave, heading for Snipe Island, and then the Blackwall, inside the little basket boat.
Various silver cutlery of dwarven make, engraved with geometric designs (as is typical with dwarven made objects. Eris ended up with most of these)
An elven pendant of a silver arrow head (usable on an arrow) (Eris took this)
A silver razor, bearing the initials E.B. (Eris took this)
A silver medallion of dwarven make. This one is a celtic-knot styling of a wyvern and griffin fighting each other. (Eris took this, and is wearing it)
A silver armband of the world serpent. (Morag took this, and is wearing it)
A silver vase of halfling make, engraved with berries and plants. (Nathair took this, as it was worth as much as a pile of the other things and so, was compact.)
An elven silver filigree tiara (eris took this)
A lamp shaped like a dragon (Morag gleefully took this)
A silver headband fillet engraved with an ivy motif. (Morag took this).