After returning from their infiltration of Schek Kagirt’s main shrine and having their stolen notes translated, they ask among the schekless refugees for where Schek Garim would have received the messages possible during the equinox and full moon near conjunction. Though the refugees have nothing to offer, Verdis’ ambassador with Schek Charuke is able to learn some legends that allow them to estimate the location of Garim’s main shrine.
- Gorg (HuS): Level 9 Orc Thief
- Victor (TrS): Level 6 Elf Thief
With an approximate location for the shrine, they have also heard that Kagirt build tunnels with subterranean carriage between the nephil shrines and they calculate that one of the tunnel entrances is likely in Rovert’s lands. This tunnel, though they are warned they go unused due to their danger, appeals to them as a way to avoid a pass through the Clinging Wood which the Garim shrine is supposed to be in.
Rovert’s retainer, the centaur Dohasan, is able to inform them of massive tunnel entrances inhabited by somewhat intelligent trolls and their self-styled troll king to the south of Shadow Spires and they believe this to be the tunnel entrance from the legend.
They head to the tunnel and sneak down and past the troll guards to the middle of the cavern where a drop whose bottom they can’t see. The tunnel east and west seems to be at the level of the drop, so they descend, finding that Victor’s rope doesn’t reach the bottom. As the magical energy in the tunnel burns him, Victor climbs up again. Using a pebble and Gorg’s sound-sight goggles, they verify that Victor’s rope is not too far from the bottom, so Gorg descends with Victor and coaches him to the ground free climbing.
They quickly realize that the damage they are taking from the arcane heat they feel is more than they can stand for long and they climb back out and abandon the tunnels. Using Victor’s navigation skills, they follow the path of the tunnel over land until they hit the Clinging Wood. They start cutting to follow the same path and by evening (having spent half the day) estimate that they have cut a mile. They estimate that they can cut 2 miles a day and have 15 or 16 miles remaining. Seven days seems like a reasonable investment, so they climb spiny trees to sleep the night.
During the night, they are attacked by displacer beasts that nearly kill Victor before he can distract them with his coin of distraction and escape to hiding while Gorg picks them off with his powerful demon crossbow. Gorg engages those that survive the distraction ambush and kills them all with little additional damage. In the dark, they recognize that creeping vines and even sapling bushes are already growing up in the way they cut during the day. Desperate not to be trapped, they immediately start to struggle back through the dark over rough terrain.
As they go, they are attacked by a dozen huge spiders that nearly drop Gorg with their poisonous bites. They camp again a mile out of the impassable woods and in the morning (the 4th of October), limp back to Confluence where they intend to borrow the flying dinghy from the flying island to fly over the Clinging Woods. They find the flying island practicing maneuvers above the Vale but are happy to rest the remainder of the day until it lands at the Prickly Keep dock specially built for it.
When it docks, they are waiting for it and once the crew has disembarked, they go up through the island to where the dinghy moors, but suddenly don’t dare to try to fly it without knowing how. They leave the island again and climb the central keep and in through Bill’s (the navigator for the island) window after he is asleep. They wake him and ask him to tell them how to fly the boat on the basis that they were on business from Verdis. Bill refuses to teach them and tells them not to take the boat on what he assumes is a risky mission given what they are willing to tell him.
Rebuffed despite telling Bill that the boat will be safer if they know how to fly it (since they will be taking it either way), they go back out the window and start to descend. By the time they reach the ground, they see Bill in his pajamas running toward the dock ahead of them. He sees them and manages to avoid Gorg’s attempts to lame him with shots to the legs.
They chase him up through the island, but by the time they arrive at the moor, Bill has taken off in the dinghy and is well on his way flying it away from them. They appeal to Verdis (also played by HuS) and Verdis agrees with Bill that the risk to the boat is not merited.
On the 5th, they return and steal the boat, successfully (with the help of seeing Bill fly it the night before) piloting it away as the alarm is sounded. In just over an hour flying over the dark woods, keeping the mountains on their left and using Victor’s direction sense, they see a massive tower rising up out of the forest ahead by starlight with their ultravision. They drop closer to the canopy and approach, but find it odd that there are no lights in the tower.
As they draw closer, they see that the tower is overgrown with vines with even trees springing out from the tower. Finding a smaller window still big enough to fly the dinghy through (due to nephil proportions), they fly through the vines into a 30’x30′ room with an 80′ ceiling. A large hole in a raised platform is nearly filled with the branches of a tree that grows up out of it. Not knowing what treasures might still be left in the tower, but considering it likely to contain dangers of the Clinging Wood, they depart and fly quickly back to the Vale.
They drop Gorg off outside Confluence to draw a chalk circle and Victor flies up to return the boat, using the other piece of chalk to teleport back to Gorg and escape. They sleep through the 6th and on the 7th march into Prickly Keep to express their insult that Bill allowed someone else to borrow the boat when he wouldn’t let them. The bluff doesn’t impress Bill, who still thinks they were the ones who stole it. They rest a week, thinking about where else they can go to try to spy on the nomadic Schek Garim now that they have learned why they are nomadic.
Some dead ends this week, and in the end another dead end with the Garim Shrine overgrown. I honestly didn’t think they would ever find this shrine in this state, given how they have so far ignored the Clinging Wood and Garim’s imminent return.