We entered Garandor later the same day. The city itself was mostly built into the walls of a canyon, with the buildings and dwellings stretching high up along the rock face. The guards at the gate gave us quite the looking over, but despite my concerns, didn’t seem too interested in troubling us. I was able to get directions to the Swillheart and Ironfist compounds with no trouble and since the Swillheart’s were closer, we chose to visit them first.
The compound was not far and we arrived in short order. After requesting an audience we were quickly shown into the company of Lars, an aged dwarf of the clan. I explained the nature of our visit, and while Lars showed some interest, he didn’t seem overly concerned and claimed that there had been no trouble with raids against his clan. The only unusual happening of note that he mentioned was a strange object that had fallen from the sky a couple weeks back and landed to the west. There was some speculation that it could be one of the “tools” of the Dwarven Overgod. A party went to investigate and never returned. A second group was sent out to locate the first and also failed to come back. After this, an experienced party of scouts was dispatched. They followed the trail of the other 2 groups to a nearby lake, about a day away. There, they discovered that an area of shoreline glittered with silver and they observed something appearing to be remains hanging from some nearby trees. As this group’s mission was to simply track down the original scouting parties, not too investigate or engage any potential threat, they returned and reported their findings. I admit that my curiosity was piqued by this tale and as the chance for work was seldom passed up, we reached an agreement to travel to Lake Rascor and investigate/recover whatever the item was that had fallen. Before embarking though, we still had a visit to pay to the Ironfists.
It didn’t take long to reach the Ironfist compound which was considerably larger and better guarded than the Swillheart’s. Some of the sentries were sporting more armor than an entire squad of soldiers. When we approached the gate and requested an audience, we were informed that only citizens could speak with Mezred. This left Dolgar to go in alone. His meeting didn’t last long, but the result was that Mezred had demanded that the elven prisoner be brought to him for further interrogation. While I’m not excited about another trip to Carnley and back, bringing the prisoner here could generate enough goodwill to get some of the damned tight lipped dwarves to begin speaking. But that is a problem for tomorrow, today we have a job.
A day of travel took us to the shores of Lake Rascor. As we arrived at the marked area, we beheld the scene as it was described. There was a deep impact scar that stretched several hundred feet into the lake. Some trees nearby held the remains of several dwarves, apparently thrown up into the branches. All around the area, the ground sparkled with silver. Silver pieces to be exact. Several thousand of them had been scattered around the impact area, all of them dwarven mintage. The shoreline itself had no trace of magic, but in the depths of the lake, we saw something glow with a faint blue. As some of the others moved closer to the shore, we discovered the cause of the dwarven deaths. A 3 headed hydra emerged from the water, glowing a similar shade of blue as the sky object. As it slithered up onto the beach, the hydra grew many short legs and moved very quickly to engage. I admit that I’m no expert on the biology of hydras, but this strikes me as unusual.
Things have gotten a bit more serious. We’ve discovered that any damage to these creatures results in them undergoing some form of mitosis, where it splits into 2 identical creatures? The process seems slightly damaging to the creature, requiring a little time to heal and regain its strength. We were all rather concerned when our first round of attacks resulted in now having 3 hydras to fight instead of 1. Due to the glow about them, it seems obvious that they have been somehow affected by the glowing object. I began to advise that we all pull back away from the lake; hopefully the creatures will follow and with distance, lose some of their strength. After observing the reaction to a weakened hydra after it attempted to divide, Dust suggested focusing our attacks to weaken them to a point where splitting would be fatal to the creatures.
During the fight, Aranmiel snuck around to the side and made his way to the beach, hoping to go after the item. Meanwhile, we were taking some heavy hits. The bash brothers both suffered damage at the fangs of the hydras, and I must report with regret, Sylvari also fell in battle. To his credit, he fought well and with honor, however, his opponent was able to score a couple lucky (and devastating) attacks that were too much for our comrade. Fortunately, Dolgar was able to prevent any further casualties.
I played a hunch that these hydras, even though twisted and changed, may still be vulnerable to acid and fire attacks. A few misses later, we observed that fire and acid did indeed damage them without provoking a division. Between the rest of our attacks, we were able to kill/prod the others into dividing to death.
After the battle, Aranmiel took a swim and retrieved the item, which upon closer inspection appeared to be a meteor that reeked of transmutation magic. Even a brief exposure had subtly changed Aranmiel and he had not touched. I recommend that we keep as much distance as possible between us and that rock. It’s a pity. I would have truly loved to have been able to study it in greater detail. However, we have a deal with the Swillheart’s and I would rather not have their enmity. Also, I lack the resources and facilities to examine it safely, the last thing that I need is to wake up in the morning with flippers, good luck casting spells like that! The remainder of the day was spent gathering up Sylvari’s remains, (perhaps we can have him raised?) and collecting the silver pieces strewn about. We had amassed quite a nice hoard, far too much to carry. Therefore we decided to hide the rest and come back with transportation of sufficient capabilities to carry out loot.
We returned to Lars and delivered the rock, with ample warning regarding its nature. Lars was sufficiently impressed and gratious, he paid us our reward with no trouble and, upon my request, even provided us with a letter of introduction at the Temple of Garandor, thus aiding in our attempt to raise good Sylvari. Our visit to the temple didn’t go as I’d hoped however. The letter got us an audience with 2 senior priests, Prim and Tibarum. Dolgar’s unorthodox beliefs soon drove Tibarum away, aghast at Dolgar’s comments. Prim, being not so conservative didn’t seem to take offense. He had some interesting things to say regarding the current political climate within the city. It seems that some merchant clans are contemplating the notion of banding together in a trade alliance. Could this be related to our mission? Is this alliance of strength not merely trade? Are the elven forces that we encountered pushing them to take this action? Very interesting. On the matter of Sylvari we were not so lucky. The temple would be willing to attempt a raising if we preformed some tasks for them. In addition to the fee, there would be some purification rites, and they want us to deliver a statue for the temple from the sculptor in Carnley! We decided to mull it over on our way back for the treasure.
Dust had managed to acquire a reinforced cart that would hold all the coinage. During the trip we concluded that based on the requirements, along with the dwarves reluctance to perform the ritual, that it was unlikely that we would be able to successfully raise Sylvari, plus the elven afterlife didn’t sound too bad. Therefore we chose to inter him along the shore of the lake, each one of us tossing a handful of silver into his grave. Good journey My Friend.
We returned to the city and made preparations to leave. First we had to convert our coinage to something more portable, the money changers were busy today. We also negotiated a fee for bringing the statue back, as we no longer needed their services. We left for Carnley the next day.
On the road a few days later, we came across a battle in progress. Three humans were fighting an ogre. They all stood in the midst of the corpses of several other ogres and humans. Before we could intervene, another of the men fell, with our help the ogre soon perished as well. A squabble soon erupted over looting rights. All could’ve probably been worked out had Dolgar not made an ill timed joke about slaves not having the right to own possessions. Whether they simply took offense or were genuinely fearful that they were to be enslaved, the 2 survivors immediately turned on us. I attempted to calm the situation, to no avail. Soon both lay unconscious on the ground. I guess I should take solace that they weren’t killed.
As leaving them in their current state would have most likely had them waking up as something’s bowel movement, we loaded them on the cart and took them with us after burying their companions. Dolgar tied their hands to prevent…further misunderstandings. After they awoke, my attempts to speak with them were frequently interrupted by trash talk from both sides with resulted in their being pummeled back into unconsciousness on more than 1 occasion. When I did finally have an uninterrupted conversation, we learned that they were attempting to locate the court of the Ogre King. He had abducted the daughter of a prominent merchant family, Sara VonBotten and a large reward was offered for her safe return. At their insistence, and despite the reservations of some of the others, we gave them their weapons back and allowed them to continue on their way.
This bounty has really gotten some attention. We passed another group of adventurers on the road, also going after the Ogre King. Despite a warning from us, their leader felt that their wizard Ted the Magnificent would be more than enough to secure their victory. We wished them luck and went on our way.
We returned to Carnley! The reason that the Temple didn’t come for the statue themselves is now apparent. The damn thing is 20ft. tall and weighs several tones! We have no way to transport it at this time! Luckily no deadline was set, so the temple will get it whenever we get around to figuring out a way of moving it. In the mean time, we must go see Keryn. Hopefully she can help secure the elf’s release from prison for transport to Garandor, along with assisting us in finding someone to replace Sylvari. As tempting as that bounty is, given how our last encounter with a group of ogres went, the group’s consensus is that we have a greater chance of meeting our doom at the ends of the ogre’s clubs rather than meeting the beautiful Sara. Best to get the elf and head for Garandor.