Purple Haze

Chapter One (part IV)

In which we learn all that glitters is not gold.

The cult leader Wildarson calls out to the party in jest and entreats them to regret their impulsivity. His faith and belief in Shar is complete and he sees only doom for our intrepid adventurers.

Battle is engaged and Aldhelm bravely storms to the front to confront the cult leader, but he is beset upon by the human acolytes who quickly flank him from either side and stab him mercilessly, even as he lays about with his greatsword, bring him to the floor.

Erais is in no better position, being backed into a corner by one of the wraith-like figures. However, he quickly realizes that these are not undead creatures, but creatures of shadow and his divinely granted powers of Lathander will not be able to turn them as it could rotting creatures of the grave.

The rest of the party is either boxed in the back of the room by the remaining wraith or chooses to not enter any farther. Though Tira and Sardonyx and Snúgel and Skamos bring their powers to bear, the enemy appears to be barely affected by their combined might. Things go from bad to worse when Wildarson begins to invoke the dark powers at his command and starts to blind people.

Grim indeed is the situation, the party separated are starting to fall and it appears that Baird’s faith in Shar will be richly rewarded this night. However, just when things seem darkest Alhelm stirs from the shadows of death, with the faith of Torm infusing his form he rises from the ground and rejoins the battle in deadly earnest!

Quickly the tide of battle is turned and the party yet again triumphs over evil.

As everyone takes a moment to catch their breath and shake off the effects of the battle, a thorough search is made of the room. A hidden door is found and after much hesitation and concern it is finally opened to find not more guardians but a simple repository of shelves containing many dark hymnals as well as a chest with 200 silver pieces and 100 gold pieces.

“Don’t be forgetting our charity fund,” Snúgel reminds everyone as his eyes glitter at the sight of so much unguarded wealth.

“And let us not forget the danger that still lies ahead,” Erais intones, picking up a scroll from the top of one of the shelves, he unrolls it to find a message written thereon, directed to Baird Wildarson.

It is a promise of great reward for Baird with his latest shipment of supplies being sufficient until the ritual is complete to release Shadraxil from his prison. Apparently Wildarson was just the tip of the iceberg and far greater evil lies in the Keep on the Shadowfell!

Oh, and lest we forget, what is Kerig up to, left all alone at the kobold’s lair? What are those blood splatters on his hand from and what is that glittering in the moonlight? Could he have gone raiding into the human farms dotting the countryside? Could he have abducted young children from their beds, after savagely murdering their parents? Could he have taken what meager savings the families had, their few pieces of silver, perhaps a gold coin here or there? Will the more faithful members of the party ever be able to forgive themselves if they left an evil, murdering hobgoblin alone in the wilds?

No, breathe a sigh of relief. The glitter is merely the winking light of glowworms crawling along the cave wall and the blood Kerig’s own as he uses his fist to smash the small bugs into paste and then scrape them off the wall for a delicacy that only a hobgoblin could appreciate.

In fact, if one listens closely, they could hear Kerig gently humming to himself.

“The Pa is mighty, mighty is the Pa. I follow Skamos and Skamos follows the Pa.”

With that, he takes another long inhalation from his burning hemp rope, but it remains to be seen if this once savage beast has truly been converted or merely temporarily sedated with the narcotic effects of hemp and the faith of the wizard.

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Cendragon

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