On July 9th, Year 12, after hearing back from Gorg and Harold, Rovert arranged to travel to the valley where they found the fog frogs on the Clouded Citadel in order to pick up significantly more frogs. Rovert is particularly intrigued by the powerful ghost Gorg described and promises whole-heartedly to go and deal with it.
- Rovert (TrS): Level 22 Human Necromancer (many establishments, wizard tower, and keep)
- Arkriss, Level 8 Lizardfolk Necromancer Henchman
- Various ogre and spider undead
- Conan (MiM): Level 14 Vampire Elf Magic-user (the Clouded Citadel: Level 1 Keep, Level 5 Establishment)
- The Crew of the Clouded Citadel including 30 archers and various henchmen
By morning on the 10th, the Clouded Citadel’s pilot, a gnomish tinker named Creag Fuillaidir, is navigating the flying fortress up the river valley between the mountains where the manors are said to be. In the meantime, Rovert has prepared a box of solid stone through magical shaping with an easily closable opening (by the same means) into which he intends to command the ghost that nearly killed Gorg.
By noon they have managed to locate a foggy manor with another close by as far up the river as Gorg indicated they would find the manors with the ghost and the frogs. (From their high up vantage point, they saw another manor covered in fog among many other manors along the way that were missed by Gorg and Harold.
They bring the island to gangplank altitude near the river and head toward the ghost manor with Arkriss (borrowed from Rovert’s magic school for her Call Undead ability) and two skeleton ogres carrying the stone box. They enter the manor when they find the front door open and Conan senses that someone died a horrible death in the entry area and the chamber beyond. Conan also sees red speckling in the area that has been smudged by foot steps. In the chamber they see signs of the family that Gorg described living there and a back door pinned shut with a broken off spear tip.
They follow the red speckling (as well footprints both above and under the speckles) down an unusual two-tiered hall and around to the tower door where they discover the stairs to the basement Gorg described. They descend, and after destroying a vampiric orc child, are attacked by the red mist. Rovert is able to command it, winning a contest of wills, and it enters the box where he seals it by magically shaping the stone to leave no seam.
They carry the box with the red mist back up to the Clouded Citadel and store it in the secret inventory before going with two carts, the four skeleton spiders that pull them, three undead ogres, and 15 of the archers to the foggy manor where they hunt fog frogs until evening. They again return to the Clouded Citadel and take it up to a safe height for the night.
Conan is awakened by his garrison commander, a Kobold Fighter named Debrikshi, who informs him that two of the skeleton spiders that watch the citadel exterior were found killed in a hall of the fortress. Conan and Rovert immediately check the box (which they have marked “danger, do not touch” in every language Rovert knows) and find it undisturbed. They then check the spider bodies and determine they were killed by Ar-amach (crossbows and alchemical weapons). While Conan tracks them through the fortress, Rovert rushes to Conan’s room where he keeps Geam’s Gem, one of the keys to release Luath Draoidh, and retrieves it.
As he leaves the room, he sees three gnomes climbing the stairs. He is quicker to the draw than they and with a flurry of death bursts drives the gnomes down the stairs, incapacitating two of them. He continues to chase the last and brings him down as well. Rovert picks out the leader and when Conan arrives revives him.
Their interrogation (supported with mind reading) learns many things:
- The Ar-A-Mach extremists knew that Geam’s Gem was on the Clouded Citadel and these three were deployed from their base in Uisge Ard when the Clouded Citadel was seen passing near there to try and steal the Gem
- The Ar-A-Mach extremist leadership is telling its followers that Geam’s Gem is the last key they require to free Luath Draoidh
- The Ar-A-Mach extremists believe that Luath Draoidh na Roinn (the Sharing) is the only means the gnomes have to regain their former glory and defend themselves against the Dragon Empire and the Nephilim
- The most important Ar-A-Mach extremist base is in the cave where Luath’s prison is located. They believe this to be east of Stalla Airgid, but are not high enough clearance to know the exact location
The captives are leader is bold enough to try to convince Rovert to pay them all for the information taken through mind reading, but Rovert knocks him out and attempts to alter their memories to be of just missing the flying island and having a run in with wolves to explain the loss of their alchemical gear. It’s a stretch for his mind magic, but he feels good about the results.
The next day, they send the archers and carts back to the manor to capture more frogs and that night leave the gnomish prisoners to wake in the woods before flying back to the Vale. Rovert’s first order of business is to head to the giant caves south of his tower with 100 fog frogs to trade with the trolls there. After some effort to raise Grandidge (the Troll King and the only one they were able to communicate with) Rovert arranges to see his hoard and picks out two magical gems and over 1000 gold worth of gems to exchange for the 100 frogs, in addition to an agreement not to be aggressive against the tower and school to the north.
The goal of the mission was to make an alliance with the troll king, with a secondary objective of capturing the red mist. Both were accomplished. TrS would rather have gone after the Ar-A-Mach this week, but without HuS, this made more sense. Now he has even more reason to do so.