Back in temple, our 3 surviving heroes tried to cope with the bitter mix of sorrow combined with the feeling of despair, due to leaving their comrades to the death – or what was even worse – by hand of Orcus priests. Wix left to report to high priest Ebaneezer, while Talsillas and Radokan decided to visit the Inn at the foot of the temple hill in order to recruit some new fodder for Rappan Athuk.
The spirits in the inn were in complete contrast to how our two heroes felt, but they managed to absorb some of the patrons of the inn’s beer-induced happiness, and decided to honor their dead by a drink. Soon they were in deep conversation with an intriguing young halfling who presented himself as Iandark Harp – a sorcerer looking for adventures and riches. Radokan despondently noted his tiny frame and twig thin arms, but knew that they were 3 man short, and that they needed extra hands to defeat the Dungeon of Graves, regardless how small those hands were. When the halfling proclaimed that he was a follower of Pelor, the stout dwarf doubted the truth of the half-mans words, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and let Eberhart decide the truth of that statement later on.
Out of nowhere appeared another halfling, who presented himself as Willem Dawneward. Iandark apparently didn’t know his kinsman, even though halflings this far to the north was a rare sight When Willem proclaimed that they had been travelling together, Talsillas and Radokan was even more puzzled. So was Iandark, but after solving the puzzle, they realized that Willem had just hitched along on Iandark without the sorcerer actually knowing in order to get north to get closer to his mission. Apparently, Willem was on a quest to find some secret organization called Pelor’s Shadowguard, but it was so secret that none of them had heard about it. When the black clad halfling – who said he was a rogue – heard they were on a mission for the Pelor temple, he begged to join them, and eventually, the dwarf and the elf gave in, and let him join.
When they came back to the House of the Sun, Irandor – the Fifth Daughter of the sun – greeted them in the door, and told them a Paladin of Pelor had just arrived from the south, searching for a holy quest. Eberhart had discussed the matters with Wix, and the party should talk with him. Nash Quale was introduced – a noble-looking blond human in his late twenties – and it didn’t take long for Radokan and Talsillas to realize that this was an obvious strengthening of group, compared to the more questionable competences brought by the two halflings.
Apparently the mayor had left town for important matters. This effectively removed the party’s option of fast traveling to Rappan Athuk by teleport, so they spent some time searching the marketplace for a teleport scroll, but the only one they found, was way over their spending limit. They realized that most of the riches had been carried by the late Krolg, when he was dropped into the burning lava. Luckily the new party members had some cash, so they purchased a horse and a hen cage. The latter could be used as a primitive saddle for the halflings, allowing the horse to carry them both at the same time. The skilled merchant managed to sell them some chickens as well, since he now had no cage for them. The idea of having fresh eggs for breakfast was more than the halflings could resist, so they haggled for the cackling creatures and got them for what they thought was a good price.
Back in the temple they prepared their overland journey, by consulting the temple library to look upon the maps of the region. Wix had to stay in the city, but promised to catch up with them as soon as possible. Concluding that the location of Rappan Athuk should be fairly easy to find, they bought the last provisions, and the next morning they headed out the north gate – a road none of them had ever traveled before.
After 5 days on the road, they crossed the second large river, and knew they had to head east from here. Actually Talsillas shortly insisted on going left, but after being taught a lesson by Willem on how not to keep the map upside down when reading it, they continued into the rolling hills on the east side of the Trade Road. It didn’t take long before they couldn’t see the road behind them, and only the sun helped them going in the right direction. After a few hours travel, Quale – who was riding his magical mount – and the two halflings – who was comfortably seated in the hen-cage – noted that Radokan and Talsillas, who was walking behind them, had started to move perpendicular to their current direction. The elf and the dwarf both heard the beautiful singing to the north, and without hesitation they knew that they had to get their fast.
Behind a nearby hill, one of the two harpies continued singing, while the other one hoped that the approaching adventuring party would solve their problem. For more than one moon cycle ago, the pack of dire lions had claimed their valley as the packs territory, and the predators ate everything that the harpies could lure to the lush vale. But this party looked like they could take on the the lions and either kill them off, or weaken them enough, so that the harpies could finish the survivors off themselves, and have a well-deserved meal.
The two oldest members of the group continued unknowingly into the trap, and when they reached the center of the vale, a pack of 6 dire lions charged at them. The singing stopped and when Radokan and Talsillas realized where they were, they found that they were surrounded by the white-maned ferocious beasts. Unluckily for the beasts, Radokan had a quick mind, and before they became dire lion dinner, he grabbed Talsillas arm and cast a dimension door. A split second later they were standing among their fellow travelers.
The pack began charging at their prey, while fireballs from both Radokan and Iandark started to rain down on the approaching enemies. The paladin Quale dismounted and soon found himself facing a huge dire lion. Another fireball from Iandark took its toll on the pack, but the beasts were sturdy and soon melee combat erupted. Nash’ opponent slashed twice at his valiant steed, but the paladin retaliated with a mighty strike.
Meanwhile Willem moved around in order to get the best position for stabbing the hungry lions, and he managed to assist Talsillas several times in delivering some severe cuts. But the lions were tough, and when Iandark received a full flurry of blows from a lion, which ended up holding his unconscious corpse in the mouth, things started to look bad. It became even worse, when Nash tried to get his horse to safety, and the lion in front of the paladin grabbed him with both claws and dragged him into a deadly hug. In a desperate attempt to get out, Nash tried to jam his hand into an open wound on the lions throat. Unfortunately, he failed and his hand got stuck, and when the beast flexed its strong neck muscles, his own sword was driven deep into his leg. The sheer pain was enough to send the paladin into unconsciousness.
2 lions were still standing, when the beautiful song started again. Everyone but Talsillas resisted it, and the elf started walking towards the 2 approaching harpies. Willem had managed to heal Iandark again, but a lion used the opportunity to attack the halfling rogue. He felt the pain when 8 sharp claws from 2 different paws bored into his back, and he felt the overwhelming force when the lion dragged him in for the kill. Despite the fact that the halfling was staring into the abyss, feeling deaths dark hands reaching for him, he managed to wiggle his way out of the beasts deadly hug, and seconds later, they killed the beast.
The last beast was right about to plow its yellow fangs into the neck of Nash, but Radokan fired 4 magical darts into its open mouth, stopping it seconds before the paladin earned the title of “former”. Iandark grabbed a healing potion and poured it into the young cleric, who came back to consciousness.
At the same time, they saw that the 2 harpies lifted the charmed Talsillas gently with their claws, and flew off with him to a tree in the distance.
- Playerkills: 0 – But the chances of Talsillas surviving is between extremely slim and non-existing
- 960 xp per survivor for defeating the pack of dire lions
- 960 XP – Iandark Harp
- 960 XP – Talsillas Ondalanerum
- 960 XP – Nash Quale
- 960 XP – Radokan Stoneale
- 0 XP – Eberhart Vix
- 960 XP – Willem Dawneward of the Tuffelfluisters