The Story So Far…
Our tale opens with the gnome Randallo, Randy for short, helpfully showing two newcomers around the frontier town of Falcon’s Hollow. He leads the wily half elf Corgana and bellowing human Godric to the local pub, The Sitting Duck, for a drink. Corgana, who has previously led an austere life as a monk-in-training, gets her first taste of ale. Meanwhile, chatter around the bar reveals that several children have gone missing since last night, with the frantic teen Rella being particularly distraught over the disappearance of her younger brother. Godric wisely suggests that the children might be found praying at the local temple. Upon traveling there they are confronted by the cantankerous cleric Cynthra who confirms both that the children are not there and that she is kind of a bitch.
With his knowledge of the local scene, Randy takes our heroes to the place where all the cool kids hang and flashes a little silver to get their tongues wagging. Turns out a group of five children took a dare to spend the night at the abandoned orphanage on the edge of town, which had mysteriously burnt down a short while ago. Apparently Elra, the sole curator of the orphanage, had made a habit of doing very nasty things to misbehaving boys and girls, and the ruins are said to be haunted. Corgana, feeling the effects of alcohol for the first time, interrupts Godric’s questioning by attempting to tickle him.
Sure to find the missing youngsters playing amongst the charred remains of the orphanage, the party travels to the outskirts of town, arriving at the ruins late in the afternoon. As Godric fails to spot anything through his curtain of flowing red locks, Randy and Corgana uncover a trap door revealing a cellar that had been untouched by the fire. They discover the body of a woman, presumably Elra, rotting in a corner near a wall covered in shackles and a blood stained table bearing well-maintained instruments of torture. As Corgana decides to stab the moldering body with her spear, unconvinced that it is dead, a swarm of baby spiders streams out of the corpse to attack her, followed shortly by the arrival of a large and angry Mommy Spider who drops down from the ceiling. Randy flees out of the cellar, taking potshots with his crossbow while Corgana flails with fists and staff at the arachnids. Ultimately it is Godric however who delivers a mighty killing blow to the she-vermin, only to have the babies swarm under his armor. Once the threat is dealt with, he takes a moment to shake off the heebie-jeebies as Corgana finds a set of masterwork silver daggers and pockets them, BUT NONE OF US KNOWS THAT.
Expanding their search to the grounds surrounding the orphanage, our heroes discover a small, ransacked campsite littered with the scales of some mysterious creature. In an attempt to get a bird’s eye view of the area, Randy climbs a tree. He spots something white nearby, but loses his grip and falls. Godric fails to catch him. The white thing turns out to be an emaciated young girl, Jeva, who claims to be a survivor of the orphanage fire and bears the scars to prove it. After some encouragement from Godric, she leads the party through the woods to where she believes the other children were taken, proving to be a far superior tracker to any of the adults.
That night, they camp on the shores of Darkmoon Lake with Godric taking the watch. Although his keen eyes fail to spot the constrictor snake that snuck up on and nearly devoured Randy, his keen blade does not fail to chop off the serpent’s head. Despite being grievously wounded, the selfless gnome consents to continue searching for the lost children. He and Corgana share their doubts about the role poor innocent little Jeva has played in recent events, but Godric gifts the girl a club and begins teaching her to wield it.
The next day, Randy stumbles upon a fox caught in a trap on a river bank. Using his gnomish magic, he speaks to the fox to calm it before releasing it from the snare. Suddenly a rain of arrows rip through the air around him, but true hero that he is, he hauls the wounded animal to the relative safety of the brush despite the deadly projectiles. Corgana strikes the sniper, who proves to be a goblin hiding in a tree, with a well-placed stone from her sling, forcing him to leap to the ground and flee. Unfortunately for him, Godric seizes the moment to charge and deliver yet another mortal blow. Corgana takes the fox in her knapsack, Godric continues to demonstrate to Jeva how to be a lethal killing machine, and the adventure continues.
After an uneventful night, the party, now numbering Randy, Corgana, Godric, Jeva, and a fox, stumbles upon a massive tree in the middle of a clearing. Corgana climbs the tree to scout the area, only to discover a vicious man-sized lizard lying in wait for her. In her haste to escape, she tumbles back down to the ground. In his haste to catch her, the lizard does the same. Godric leaps forward and totally-doesn’t-whiff-on-a-prone-enemy, but instead demonstrates to Jeva how one would strike the thing if one actually wished to. The beast attempts to grapple Godric, but he boldly turns the tables on the lizard and grapples it back. While the two titans tangle, Corgana delivers flurry after flurry of blows to the beast while Randy fires his crossbow from afar. Godric continuously encourages Jeva to get her fight on, but the girl remains aloof. Eventually, he manages to pin the lizard and begins dealing pile-driver punches to its scaly muzzle. Even Randy gets in on the action, leaping into the scrum with his dagger raised. Finally the beast is beaten into senselessness. Corgana climbs the tree again and discovers the half-eaten bodies of woodsmen among the branches. She finds a masterwork short bow and a signet ring among other treasures, but again, WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THESE. Meanwhile Godric, suspicious as to why a traumatized twelve year old girl would not want to get in on the wholesome lizard-smacking action, casts Detect Evil on her and finds, to nobody’s shock but his own, that the girl harbors some nefarious intent in her soul. The party concludes to camp here tonight and tend their wounds. How will our heroes handle this newly discovered evil amongst them? What will the lizard have to say for himself when he finally regains consciousness? Will Randy ever find the strength to carry his own bedroll? Will Corgana teach her new foxy friend to do sweet tricks? Will Godric manage to spot something before it’s murdering them? Will they ever find a competent ranger to guide them through these treacherous lands, or a cleric to keep Randy alive for more than three days? Find out next time here in…