Falathar’s Journal 36

Even though the giant was still  forty feet away Rain moved back behind Bron and Sampson. She then sent an arrow into the monster. Bron holding until the giant could close yelld out, “Meritus not here. Meritus at the castle.” Agrent swiftly moved off to the left into the nearby trees and cast shillelagh. As the giant crashed its way through the
brush it called out, “Gurge hungry. Smash little men who mock me.” It swung at Bron missing him. Sampson tried using smite evil and a cleave attack, but swung wildly. Bron shouted out, “I not mocking you…you big ugly.”

Rain slipped while shooting her second arrow. Not only did she miss, but she fell on her arse. The paladin had success with his second attack scoring two hits. Bron not to be left out also struck home with a solid hit. Agrent moved out and behind the hill giant but
missed with both weapons. Gurge managed to land two massive blows on Samson. Rain having regained her feet put an arrow into the giant. Samson was now fighting defensively and did not land a hit. Bron found it possible to miss even a target as big as this. Agrent tried to back stab the giant and missed again. Gurge only got one hit through to Sampson, but it was enough to drop him unconscious.

Rain was shook up at seeing the paladin drop and missed with her third arrow. Bron focused even harder, but still missed the giant. Agrent on his third try missed with the shillelagh, but did hit with the klar. The giant did not seem to notice Agrent’s attack and
tried to hit “little man.” He missed Bron again. Rain managed to put an arrow into Gurge. Meanwhile the paladin stabilized on the ground. Bron missed, but Agrent scored two hits getting the giant’s attention.

Rain put yet another arrow into the giant. Bron in disbelief missed again. Agrent landed a solid hit with the shillelagh. Gurge now turned his attention to Agrent, “You hurt Gurge. Gurge now mad. Gurge going to eat all of you now.” That said he swung and missed Agrent twice. To which Agrent shouted, “Agrent eat you.” Rain shot an arrow into the middle of Gurge’s chest. Gurge swayed and slowly crumpled to the ground. Bron ran over and slit the hill giant’s throat to make sure it stayed down. Agrent then cut out its heart and held it up to the cheers of the students.

Agrent bent down and cast a cure light wounds on Samson, which revived him. The paladin had trouble getting his helmet off due to the dent in it. “Man this hurts,” and then Samson performed lay on hands twice on Agrent and once on himself. He thanked Agrent and shook his hand. Agrent, “We eat heart tonight.” To which Sampson declined, but Bron
smiled “I’ll join you.”

Agrent built a fire and roasted the heart. After a prayer he offered it to the students too with most of the girls refusing. Agrent did notice that the “bullies” had a sudden attitude change and were now quite well behaved. As Bron and Rain finished their portion of the
heart, Bron asked Rain if the heart was good. “You bet your arse,” was her reply. They then gathered up the children for the march back to the wagon.

They were surprised to see two wagons on their return along with Mistress Valria and Masters Aslar and Deft waiting for them. Valria called for them to load the students onto the wagon for the ride back to the school. It was then that something seemed amiss to
Bron. At first he couldn’t put his finger on it and then it hit him. Master Deft, the Halfling looked normal but the air above him was distorted. He quietly pointed this out to his companions and they too were able to see it. Mistress Valria seemed very anxious to get the students on the wagons.

Bron told the students to hold back and then he and his companions separated slightly and moved up towards the three instructors. They launched into an attack with Rain scoring an arrow hit on “Deft.” Bron, Agrent and Sampson rushed up and scored hits on “Valria” and
“Aslar.” Seeing their ruse no longer was working the three instructors dropped their  disguise and showed their true appearance. They were green hags!

The hags were formidable opponents, but were overwhelmed by the ferocity of the party’s attacks. Two were quickly dropped and the third turned to run and became invisible. Rain tried to track it, but only found the tracks of little animals. Bron and Samson followed at a distance to cover the trackers.

Rain and Agrent had seen the direction the hag had left, but couldn’t find any tracks. Rain sent her wolf familiar after the scent of the hag. The green hag could move swiftly, but not
nearly as swift as the wolf. They saw the wolf circling a tree and whining at it. Rain put an arrow into the tree and then Agrent lays into it with the shillelagh. The tree transformed back into the third green hag, which allowed the wolf to bite it. The hag attacked Agrent with claws and a bite scoring two hits on him. Agrent felt some of his strength ebb away after being clawed. Rain, Bron and the wolf all missed with their next attacks. The hag managed to hit Agrent two more times, all the while cackling in a hideous voice.

Bron finally caught up to where the fight was and put a cross bow bolt into the creature. Still Rain, Agrent and the wolf could not land an attack, but the hag hit Agrent again. This left Agrent barely able to stand. Rain, Bron and the wolf tried in vain to protect
Agrent. Fortunately, Sampson closed to attack using smite evil on a cleave attack dropping the green hag on the spot! They searched this hag’s body and found a pair of bracers. They then returned to the students.

Upon searching the wagon they saw a large iron pot. Inside the pot they found the real Mistress Valria bound and gagged. They untied and revived her. It was then they realized that there was only one wagon. The other wagon had been an illusion. They searched the two hags’ bodies, but found nothing of value. They then gathered the children for
the return trip to the school. Some of the students were going to take off their armor and put it into the wagon. Bron stopped them sternly reminding that there could be other creatures out there. The students formed up into a close knit group constantly looking around for danger on the way back.

During the time the fight with the hags was going on, back at the school the party there heard a crowd of people approaching. Looking out the windows they could see a very much alive Master Carble leading a large group of people riding in wagons.

Meritus Soldragon, the headmaster looked out the window seeing Carble, “You’re alive.” He started to rush downstairs. Falathar seeing a perfectly healthy Carble left no doubt in his mind that he was behind all of the trouble at the school. He thought to himself “you tried to trick us with pig’s blood, now let’s see if your blood matches.” Falathar notched an arrow to his bow and drew it. Just as he was releasing the arrow aimed at Carble Erlig knocked the bow out of his hand. “What do you think you’re doing,” demanded Erlig. Falathar pointed out that Carble was behind it all and needs to be “stopped before he can do more harm.” The party members followed the headmaster downstairs and into the courtyard as Carble bellowed, “Where’s Meritus.”

Meritus emerged first into the courtyard, but Parlay quickly moved between him and Master Carble. Erlig, Strabo, and Falathar moved out onto the steps, while Blossom slipped unnoticed to one side. Carble turned to the people, whom Meritus recognized as parents of the students, “See Meritus is incompetent he teaches poetry and math when he
should be training them to fight. Meritus I demand you step down. I demand you give me the school.”

A clearly stunned headmaster replied, “No, you don’t understand. They need a well rounded education before entering the specific training of their vocation. Some will become bards, some will become merchants, some will become skilled craftsman, and yes some will enter the guard for military training. Good people, Carble has misled you. He
set up this ruse.” Meritus turned his attention back to Carble, “I suspect you are behind all of the recent troubles.” Meritus and the others had not paid attention to Falathar, who had started “playing” his flute. In reality he was casting sound burst. Just before it went off Master Carble had pulled his bastard sword to attack.

The spell went off hitting everyone in a ten foot radius of Carble. Unfortunately, these included five parents, Strabo and Parlay, which Falathar regretted but knew better than to give a skilled sword master the initiative. Six of the people were stunned, but two saved and only took the damage. Strabo was one of the stunned (Falathar wondered what came over the cleric? He knows better than be on the front line). Fortunately, Parlay was one who saved, and unfortunately Cable was the other. No one connected this with Falathar, but looked at Carble with apprehension as the effect seemed to radiate from him after he pulled his sword.

Parlay pulled his sword and shield and gave Carble a look warning him to hold. Cameo sent a magic missile into Carble. Carble had coolly determined that Parlay was the real threat having watched in practice through the hours. He therefore launched a power attack
against Parlay scoring with two massive swings of his bastard sword. A clearly bloodied Parlay responded with two hits of his own, but only seemed to do half of the damage in comparison to Carble. Falathar sent an arrow into Carble and this time no one tried to interfere.

Parlay delivered two more hits on Carble, while Cameo cast magic missile with pronounced effect. Carble stayed focused on Parlay hitting with his first swing, but missing with the second. Meanwhile Strabo had recovered and applied the sleeping agent to his
whip. He prayed to Calistria to make his aim true and snapped it at Carble. His prayer was answered with a solid hit on Carble, who instantly fell into a deep sleep.

Meritus seeing Carble down, “I don’t understand. He was trying to take over the school.” The headmaster began talking with the parents. Meanwhile, Falathar walked over to Parlay and Strabo and apologized for having to hit them in the attempt to render Carble stunned. Parlay smiled, “Never apologize for striking first.” Strabo was not quite as
happy. Falathar cast a cure moderate on Parlay. He then cast cure light wounds four times on four of the five parents he had hit. At the same time Erlig had bound and gagged Carble.

Masters Aslar and Deft had joined us in the courtyard. Noticing Mistress Valria was not in sight we asked Meritus. He informed us she had stayed with the wagon awaiting the return of the children. We then carried the bound and sleeping Carble into a classroom.

We stripped Carble of all gear and equipment. Falathar cast detect magic and examined the gear. The inside of one sack had a pocket containing Oggnun’s bones. There were traces of dried blood in the larger compartment. That is how Carble had carried the pig’s blood to his office. Our inspection completed, Blossom retied the ropes binding Carble. The gleam in her eyes told Falathar that the ropes would not only bind him, but be very painful the longer he remained tied.

We were just getting around to enjoying the bottle of wine, which seemed so long ago that Meritus had brought to the “weary” bard. Suddenly, the cheers of the parents still in the courtyard could be heard greeting the return of their children. They rushed over to hug
and make sure their children were OK. Strabo helped Mistress Valria out of the wagon, “Shall we say tea in half an hour.” Meritus was amazed at how well the “bullies” were marching to Agrent’s orders. Bron turned to the students, “Now, it is safe to remove your armor.” The students with their parents help quickly shed their armor, which they very carefully stacked in the wagon under the watchful eye of the Paladin.

Strabo leaned out the window of the classroom and called for Rain, Agrent, Bron, and Sampson to join the rest of the party in the classroom. They quickly arrived and exchanged stories with the rest of the party. We knew Carble would be asleep for hours so we locked the classroom and went down for food and ale. Meritus joined us in the dining room. His joy at our solving the school’s trouble was tempered by the knowledge a colleague had been behind it all. He thanked us profusely and paid each one hundred in gold. Meritus said that was “not enough compensation for all you have done. The school has a collection of magic items to which I have added over the years.” He provided nine magic items “one for each of you.” We thanked Meritus and set a watch over Carble.

Strabo left the group and prepared a pot of tea tempered with the special mint leaves Blossom had given him. He found Mistress Valria in her office still somewhat disturbed. “Perhaps this tea will soothe you,” he said with a smile that was sweeter than honey. The tea did improve her move and Strabo chanced, “I would be happy to do more to soothe
you,” with hope in his eyes. Valria smiled, “Call me Alena..You’re a good fellow, but you’re not my type.” She leaned over and pinched his cheek and then rose to leave. She left Strabo to his thoughts which were, “You win some and you lose some.”

Agrent burned the bones of the Gnome Oggmun and then scattered the ashes over the garden in the courtyard. The ghost reappeared, but instead of bloody and enraged, it appeared as a happy well dressed gnome. The ghost smiled and nodded his thanks, and then it faded away. Agrent, “May your rest be not disturbed as you guard school.”

Agrent was walking back to the school entrance when something in the sky caught his eye. It looked like a falling star, but instead of traveling across the sky it seemed to dive straight down in a burst of light far over the northwestern horizon. He came in and described the scene to the rest of the party, “I hope it did not hit Sandpoint.” The rest of us retired for the evening after setting up a watch rotation over Carble.

The next morning was uneventful as we did our morning devotionals and had breakfast. Strabo noted, “It’s time to question Carble as he should be awake and had time to ponder his plight.” We reached the classroom were Parlay was standing guard. “Time to kill him,” he asked. “No, I am going to question him like I did with Tsuto,” pointed out Strabo. Parlay smiled knowing what Carble was in for. Strabo first cast zone of truth centered on Carble. He then cast suggestion placing his hand on Carble’s chest, “My hand will burn through you,” Strabo charged as he pressed down and then released, “if you do not answer my questions.” At first Carble seemed terrified and then he, “No you can’t.” The zone of truth seems to work both ways.

We asked Carble why he tried to take over the school. “Because I can do a better job than Meritus without all the foolish lessons,” he replied quite sure of himself. We then asked who he was collaborating with in the attempt to take over the school. “Collaborating? No
one,” he replied, “though I did hire a sorceress, Voranka to detain Meritus and the students.” We asked where Voranka lived and he told us of her small hut and where it could be found near the river. Next, we asked if he was following anybody’s orders in the attempt to take over the school. “No, I did it myself for the good of the students.” He snorted. The he was asked if he had sent the green hags to kill or capture the children. “No,” was his horrified reply, “I hired Voranka to delay Meritus.” We inquired how he had summoned the ghost. “I had read about Oggnun and dug up his bones one night. The ghost had to follow my orders as long as I had its bones.”

The party was satisfied with Carble’s answers and now proceeded to tell him the truth of what he had started. Erlig pointed out “the kids were threatened by a giant looking to kill
Meritus.” Rain then described how the three green hags had disguised themselves as instructors and set up an ambush for the children, “they even brought a giant cooking pot.” “I can’t believe it,” a grief stricken Carble moaned, “she was human and so beautiful…she couldn’t have been a hag.” Seeing unintended atrocities of his blind ambition, Carble sobbed and confessed to all he had done.

We sent a messenger to the local guard post to pick up Master Carble. Falathar wrote out a detailed confession to which Carble freely signed. The entire party signed to attest along with Meritus. This was included with the message. We then went to find this
sorceress.

We reached the area, but there was no hut in sight. The river and the willow tree were there as described, but no hut was visible between. Agrent and Rain led out tracking with Erlig following to practice his tracking skills. They found human boots leading to the spot
(the size of Carble’s boots). The tracks seemed to be about one week old. In a small area where the hut should be his footprints were visible with those of a small human (possibly a woman). The footprints entered at one spot and move about in a small area and then both sets of prints left from where Carble had entered. His footprints led back in the direction of the school, while the other led off along the river. This set of tracks at one point changed to those of a large creature leaving deep prints. This set was easy to follow until we lost the trail by the river. We discussed it and all agreed it was clear. The green hag had cast the illusion of a hut and transformed herself into a human woman to fool Carble.

We returned to the school and made our final report to Meritus and took his leave to return to Magnimar. We discussed our next move and most were for following the lead of the letter we had found with Foxglove. We now have two hats of disguise to use to have
“Foxglove” return to his townhouse and wait for his contacts to show up. We also divided up the treasure gained on this outing, which totaled five thousand one hundred and eighty-seven in gold value for each. We decided that several items should go to those best able to use them and the rest would be sold if not selected by one of us. The breakdown follows:

Agrent received the Horn of Fog, the Eyes of the Eagle, and the Rope of Climbing. These we all agreed could be best used by our scout.  Parlay accepted the Chimes of Opening, “could be useful.” Erlig and Cameo beat Strabo in dice over the two Handy Haversacks. They will come in handy to store their spell components and reduce their pack load. Strabo did look longingly and determined he would have to find one in Magnimar. Erlig also won out on the Bracers of AC3 along with the Ring of Sustenance. Cameo was not left out as he received Erlig’s Bracers of AC2 and he gave Erlig his Bracers of AC1 to sell. Erlig did
have to borrow quite a bit from Agrent to pay for the items. Agrent readily did so, “Me have lots of pretty stones (jewels). Not have to carry so many now.” Bron received the Cloak of Resistance +1 as part of his share. Samson took the Full Plate Armor +1 as
his share and would return his armor to the temple.

Falathar and Strabo both wanted the Hat of Disguise 2nd level. Falathar won the dice toss for it. To which, Strabo lamented, “The bard being able to disguise his voice and act will
be able to use it better than I.” The way he said that suddenly brought to Falathar’s mind how Strabo would have used it, “Yes, it is best it be safe in my care.” Falathar also won the Broach of Shielding (vs. magic missiles). Additionally, the party gave him the Pipes of Sounding as he was the only one who could use it.

We reached Magnimar and went to the guard headquarters to meet with our paladin’s father. He had checked into the “Brotherhood” and “Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms. He found no information on the later, not even a hint or rumor. As to the Brotherhood there is a guild in town, the Brothers of Seven. “I don’t think they are involved…it’s a guild formed by the seven logging families as Magnimar was being established.”

Falathar startled at the mention of “Seven” and explained that the Sihedron ritual is the cutting of the seven-pointed star in the victim before killing them. The captain’s astonished look, “What do you know of the bodies found recently in Magnimar with that
symbol carved in their chests.” Falathar showed him the letter to Aldern Foxglove from his mistress. He asked if the people who bodies were found recently were greedy. “Well some of them were wealthy and other cut purses.” Falathar pointed out that according to the letter the seven-pointed symbol must be carved in the chest of the victim before killing them “or they do my master no good and the greed in their souls will go to waste” he quoted from the letter.

The captain asked us if we knew who this master is and we informed him we did not. “However, we plan on disguising one of us as Foxglove and will return to his townhouse.” There we would wait for the agents to contact “Foxglove.” Cameo was worried about anyone reporting us breaking into Foxglove’s house. The Captain called in his scribe, “Take this down.”

“These people are entering Foxglove’s house under my jurisdiction. Signed, Ismeir Oldenburge, Captain of the Guard, Magnimar.”

When the scribe finished,  the captain signed it and affixed his seal in wax. “There, that should take care of that.” He then wished us luck.

We left the headquarters and Strabo and Samson wanted to go to the market on the way to the docks. Strabo was able to find a Handy Haversack for sale. He bought it and considered it well spent in spite of the twenty percent surcharge on magic items. Strabo quickly loaded all of his alchemical supplies into. He picked it up and marveled that
the weight was only five pounds.

Sampson was able to find a skilled armorer. He described the symbol he wanted engraved on his new armor. They came to agreement and Sampson traveled to the Temple of Iomedea . He greeted the priests and returned his armor along with five hundred in gold. The priest thanked him profusely, “This will help with the orphans…there are so many these days.” The errands finished, we moved down to the docks to hire a closed carriage to take “Foxglove” to his townhouse.

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