After an incredibly tough battle in which Spes Novum had finally managed to take down Grendel it was now time to reflect on the battle. While Almara,Oliver and Dibelle were making their way from the tower to the evil wizard, Helwen was searching his body for clues. She found a cracked necklace, which seems to have been magical, and picked up the item Grendel had searched for to regain his power; Nightshade.
In the meanwhile the tower, which had grown magically, started to slowly collapse and the others quickly acted on it. Trapetor and Uthal would collect the bodies of Almara’s resurrected companions on the ground floor while Brysark and Helwen would continue to the remains of Zyprix, two stories higher. While serarching the remains on the second floor Brysark found a large sturdy chest. Because he could feel the tower collapse beneath him Brysark acted rather panickedly and immediately pushed the chest over to the hole in the wall and toppled it over the edge. The chest crashed down with a mighty blow and lay shattered on the ground. It’s contents were now scattered on the floor, some of it even shattered. Without hesitation Trapetor dived in on the treasure and started collecting it into the Bag of Holding, one particularly interesting object was wat initially looked like a large egg-shaped ruby, which Spes Novum could recognise from an earlier time when they collected it for the dragon Noloth in Old Stanehold. While Brysark looked down on Trapetor and the treasure, Helwen saw an opportunity to collect some of Noloth’s scales, they might come in handy later after all. After collecting the dragon scales Helwen hurried down the rope. Brysark found a a set of notes on location where Grendel had escaped using some sort of teleportating magic. After that he retrieved the body of Zyprix and brought it down with him in a fumble down the rope.
With everybody exhausted from the preceding battle, they decided to travel to the inn near Burry to which they had the deed after the encounter with the shapeshifters. They would rest up there and plan their next move after recovering.
After having enjoyed a well deserved sleep in their dusty, dirty bedrooms (except for Helwen and Lili after the human wizard had cleaned their room with an array of prestidigitation cantrips) they gathered at the dining hall for breakfast. A quick search of the pantry revealed that all but some preserved beans had rotten. The beans were however quite tasty thanks to another display of Lili’s prestidigitation.
After breakfast Brysark showed the group the notes that he had found on Zyprix’ body and Lili instantly noticed that while the second note was mostly gibberish, it also looked like it was an anagram for the bloodstained one. Immediately Brysark began to decipher the note, hoping to discover valuable information.
While Brysark studied the note, the others would see to the house. Uthal and Trapetor cunningly convinced Oliver to clean the basement of the house while the rest of them would claim rooms to themselves and clean it in the process. Lili managed to use her magic to write her and Helwen’s names on the door to their shared bedroom quite fashionably. Uthal, on the other hand, carved something on the door which did not so much resemble anything while he claims it is his name accompanied by the drawing of a shield.
Quite a while later Brysark managed to finally discover the contents of the note. It was an appointment made to send people to pick up Grendel at his tower in two days. The note was signed by a mysterious figure “T”. A group vote ensued and it was decided that the group would immediately head back to Grendel’s tower in order to lay in wait for those who were to come for Grendel. Almara, Dibelle and Oliver refused to join the group and they were allowed to borrow Jake and Josh along with the wagon in order to return to Stanehold with the bodies of Almara’s previous allies.
The group set out for the tower immediately with Uthal taking the lead. Somewhere along the way suddenly a large object, which they deemed a meteor at first, struck down from the skies to the earth a little further down the road. Uthal was on high alert and darted off to investigate. When he cam up to the crater he could see a large snake-like winged creature. Uthal drew his hammer and ran up to it to strike the monster immediately when Brysark stopped him just in time. Brysark seemed to know the creature and pulled out his necklace to show it to the winged beast. It touched the necklace with its tail and then vanished in wash of light, after which the necklace began pulsing with light. Everybody was very confused but somehow Brysark did not get the chance to fully explain what that creature was, though he knew that he would have to inform the group some time or another.
The group arrived a day ahead of the appointment and they took this time to scout the area and set up an ambush for the upcoming escorts. The next day they lay in wait for the unknown escorts to arrive. They waited all day trying to stay hidden from any travelers. The day passed but before midnight had passed they were found by a couple of vampire spawns. A heavy battle followed which concluded with with Lili using her magical prowess to charm the remaining vampire spawn into thinking she was an ally. The vampire had revealed the location of the Brotherhood of Beasts
the Leaky Flagon in the city of Stanehold and the name of the handler of this operation. After finishing the last vampire when she did not prove of any further use, Spes Novum decided to travel to Stanehold to inform lord Alran of this news. The first stop along the way would be Burry.
In Burry they would take a moment to celebrate their victory over Grendel by a night of heavy drinking, even challenging the innkeeper, Catalina, to a famed drinking contest. None of the participants, all but Brysark contended, managed to complete the challenge after which they watched with awe how the innkeeper easily downed the three shots (Brysark noticed that she did not actually drink the shots but the intoxicated audience loved it and he decided not to reveal the innkeep).
The next day they continued on their way to Stanehold. At the gates they encountered the city guard that was tasked with returning Jake & Josh to their owners. After having relieved the guard the group continued to the Academy to pay a visit to Almara.
On the way, the group paid a quick visit to Stanehold’s blacksmith. Uthal and Helwen put in a request for some new armor to collect later.
At the Academy Almara was looking quite a bit better than the day right after the battle. Dibelle was now also seated in the office of the head of the academy, she would be schooled to succeed Almara in due time. Almara helped the group identify some objects in their possession and, after a small argument, handed Almara the ruby-red dragon egg to take care of. After the meeting they went to Alran to inform him of the presence of the Brotherhood of Beasts in Stanehold. Alran would have this information checked immediately and asked the group not to interfere with the investigation.
Remembering that the bloodstained note had also revealed that the brotherhood had uncovered something of value in Old Stanehold, the group decided that that would be the best place to start searching for more information.
Arriving at old Stanehold late in the evening the group camped in an abandoned building before starting the search in the following morning. With their increased strength, Spes Novum visited some sites they had previously visited but not completely investigated at that time. After a short battle with a chained ghost they found a pair of handwraps which they kept in the bag of holding. Revisiting Noloth’s lair in the library of the old academy Lili and Helwen managed to find a book on symbols which might lead to new insights on Helwen’s past. After having scoured this area as well, the group moved on to the last place they had previoiusly been to,the fortified castle where they had retrieved Noloth’s dragon egg.
This time they searched for new clues on the bodies that were still there and the rooms they had not entered yet. Incredible investigative skill of Lili revealed a hidden hatch underneath a large rug. The group entered the hatch and found themselves in an underground corridor.
In the underground corridor the group was ambushed by an amorphous slime creature. Even though the group was taken aback by the fact that lightning damage only made the creature multiply itself, they could easily dispose of the monster without too much difficulty. Uthal, however, was disadvantaged by the acidic nature of the monster, which had damaged his armor and weapon considerably.
After the battle, the corridor seemed to hold no other value. But Brysark, who had obviously learned from Lili’s skill aboveground, found that there was a draft coming from behind a wall, indicating a hidden passage. Uthal, not wanting to wait and look for a hidden switch or handle, rushed at the wall and charged right through it. This newly discovered hallway led them to a room which housed a cloak of some kind. The cloak had a sort of magical feel to it. When Trapetor approached to take the cloak it turned out to be a monster and attacked the group feverishly! While the monster had surprised the heroes it was no match for them ultimately. It had tried to run away when it was badly injured, sneaking away into a hole in the wall that lead to a rather large cavern. In the cavern Helwen was able to finish the creature off with a shot of an ice shard, before the creature could have gone to alarm any other monsters.
But just when Spes Novum thought that they were safe something grabbed Trapetor by the neck from the ceiling. The battle is not over yet….