During those few months, however, Ghost and I did help Merton (the apothecary in Woodland) with a task; someone had broken into his home and stolen some of his possessions. We tracked the thief to one of the ruins outside of town, and after meeting with his guard pudding (in short: ouch. These do not make good hats), found him cowering in one of the back rooms. He surrendered right away and we brought him and the treasure he'd stolen back to the guild hall and Merton.
Later, after everyone had met up in Woodland again, we were summoned to the guild hall by the king's order. When we got there, we found the guildmaster Micah, Martin Mikon (ranger from Port Town), Gordo (apparently a vampire hunter with a penchant for wearing red), "Old Calvin" (the dragon Khrom-Vel in his human guise), and Rooks (a thief of some kind that we've worked with before, but who was now clearly a prisoner).
Micah told us that there had been no word back from Dwight, Duke of Joven, and that the king was concerned. The last correspondence had come from the Walled Valley and that the duke and his party had been traveling east to Treehome. Micah also mentioned that there was news of a vampire lurking around the countryside and that some of the people attacked were members of Countess Berkeley's house.
Khrom-Vel shared information that the movement of monsters to the east had stopped. His plan was to seek the other dragons for allegiance.
Rooks was going to go west to speak with the elves to see if they are allied with the king.
Martin was going to travel west to seek the Brass Dragon in the desert. (I had some information pertinent to Khrom-Vel and Martin's tasks, so I told them what I knew.)
This left the situation of the missing duke for our group; our task is to find him. We were given permission to hire on a few mercenaries to aid us and, after interviewing a few prospective candidates at the tavern, we finally agreed on four. Those were:
Sten, a priest of Apollo (we all agreed that having a healer would be wise!)
Orfeo, some sort of stealthy rogue-type, but he seemed trustworthy enough
Clarence, a bard (although I think Ayman and I voted on him largely to irk Ghost)
Oakskin, a woodsman who knows the area we would be traveling through
We also acquired a young acolyte of my order; Clem joined us as part of his field training.
Our group now considerably larger, we Gated the next morning to the mosque in the Walled Valley. Once in town, Clem delivered a message for Abbot Sol and the group asked around for news of Dwight's whereabouts. Armed with a bit more information, we began traveling northeast. A few days later I convinced a lone pixie in the grasslands (that sounds incredibly silly, does it not?) to tell us what he knew; he pointed in the direction where a large group of monsters were meeting and that the leaders were at something called the "ogre moot". Unfortunately he had not seen any humans and had no idea where prisoners would be held.
We continued traveling and as we set up camp for the night, Orfeo heard something: the yipping of dogs coming from the northwest. These turned out to be Jackalmen and he warned us not to look into their eyes. They approached us in human form, feigning helplessness and claiming to have been attacked, but our group did not fall for this. Ghost pulled a card out of her Deck of Illusions and an ogre appeared. Startled, the Jackalmen shifted back into jackals to attack the ogre and the party members closest. After a fight, the monsters were all slain and Sten healed those who were injured.
The next morning Orfeo mentioned that there was an abandoned monastery not far away. We found this built into the side of a hill in the remains of a vineyard. Ghost found some large (and some smaller) footprints, but no one was around so we went in, SwampFox breaking down the bar that was latching the door shut. Once inside we discovered that this was an old temple of Seiryuu, a pacifistic priesthood that we had helped before. We explored the temple (I'll admit to being quite distracted by the library while a few others were very interested in the cask room) and I discovered a magic scroll and a magic rug; I had to leave the rug behind, but I did snatch up the scroll.
As we were sitting down for dinner, however, we heard a pounding on the door, followed by a "Who's in Big Bob's house?" It looked like we had ogres for dinner guests! I tried to Charm him into leaving us alone for the time being, but failed (I hate when my strongest magic doesn't work...), so Linora and Vordb tried their hand at getting him to obey. This failed, and after Linora got thrown into a wall, seven more ogres approached. Big Bob wanted us to surrender to be taken to the ogre moot, but none of us (sans Ghost) wanted any part in that plan, so we improvised a way out. This worked amazingly well and I am still trying to figure out where that vast amount of luck came from!
Vordb cast his Grease spell on the lead ogres and the stairs under them; once this was in place, I used my Ring of the Ram to shove Big Bob backwards, knocking him and the other ogres down the long staircase. Before they could get up, I cast my stickiest spell on them, causing them to adhere together, and Ghost threw a vial of Greek Fire; this turned them into a burning, sticky pile of what was essentially lava. To add insult to injury, Vordb then cast an Irritation spell on the monsters.
These monsters were no longer a threat, but at the bottom of the hill were more ogres and a hill giant. Our fighters attacked them well, Vordb used his Hovering Skull to taunt the giant, and Ghost lobbed another Greek Fire. I used my Wand of Fear on the group of ogres still standing and this caused them to turn and flee- unfortunately not before the hill giant could toss a huge boulder on top of Oakskin. Ghost got a healing potion to him just in time and while the monsters all fled in one direction, we ran the other way.
We are now camped for the night and are hoping that we will not be visited by more ogres tonight. Tomorrow we continue on towards the ogre moot- but at least not in the position of prisoners, for which I am exceedingly thankful!
~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
October 5th, 7th day of Brightmoon