Ranza (Changeling 3)
Jonesomon (Specialist 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 4)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 4)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Thrax [NPC] (Fighter 3)
The party decided, given the obvious advantage in numbers the ochre-men possessed and their own current paucity of spells, to pull back and follow on after Gnarl. Getting back on the main trail after retrieving Feedbag and Hoppy, Hobbs took steps to cover their tracks so the ochre-men could not follow (unsuccessfully as it turned out.)
Meanwhile, Gnarl had continued to follow the black dog. It led him further along the trail as it climbed up the next hill. At this point the the canine led the wood gnome off trail. They went up over the crest of the hill and then down the other side, where in the faint light of morning twilight Gnarl could see the next standing stone, nestled next to a pool of water in a narrow dell at the base of the hill. He decided to set up camp here, waiting for the rest of the party before proceeding. The party found him easily some time later, having following signs the wood gnome left behind.
Now proceeding down over he hill, Gnarl made a beeline for the standing stone while the others stood watch (Thrax on the hill above and the others in the dell). The dog by this time had already moved down into the dell and was waiting just on the opposite side of the standing stone, to the north-west as always. As Gnarl descended into the dell, he noted a humanoid figure sitting with it's back to the stone. Roughly the height of the wood gnome, the creature sported a set of moth-like wings and was smoking a cigar. Gnarl politely greeted the fellow and inquired about the stone. The reply he received was gruff and dismissive, the creature insisting there was no stone. He made the same comments regarding the dog. Gnarl decided to just ignore him, and move towards the stone to touch it. At which point, the creature (Grinx by name) rose and attempted to block him. Grinx threw a couple of spells at the wood gnome, all of which were absorbed by the power of his ioun stone. As Gnarl pushed past Grinx, he heard a voice screech from the top of the standing stone: 'No Fair! No Fair! He doesn't play right! Push him in!" As Grinx turned to rush at Gnarl so fast he could barely be seen, a small, bright purple dragon appeared on top of the standing stone. While Gnarl sidestepped the bull-rushing Grinx and tried (unsuccessfully) to trip him up, the hair-trigger alert party turned their attention on the dragon. Hobbs pummeled it with a stone from Stonethorn, and the rest of the party opened up with an accurate fusillade of arrows. The faeire dragon, suddenly grievously wounded, rose into the air and dove towards the nearby pool. But though fast it could not make it in time, and another barrage of arrows plucked it from the sky and brought it down into the pool with a dead splash. Meanwhile, Grinx, seeing his master fall, looped around Gnarl and zoomed off into the nearby woods and out of sight before anyone could respond.
Once he'd caught his breath, Gnarl walked over the the stone and touched it. This once more caused the dog (who'd simply sat and watched as the action unfolded before it) to writhe and fade in and out of existence once more, before finally setting back into a corporal form, once more larger than before. It then prepared to head off to the north west again, waiting patiently for Gnarl to follow. But the wood gnome had by now joined his companions at the side of the pool as they discussed what to do next. Convinced the dragons lair (and treasure) was somewhere below it's waters, Hobbs stripped down and hopped in for a look. The pool was deep and narrow, a cleft in the rock filled with clear water. He found, at the end of the pool where the stream entered, a narrow opening in the rock, too small for him to enter. Reporting back to the surface, the party decided that Ranza would drink her potion of diminution and swim down to investigate, dragging along a rope and sack behind. Inside the cleft she found a dry cavern above the surface of the water where the dragon had obviously laired, for there was also a nest of gems and a pile of other wondrous treasure; a sword, several potions, a scroll and a wand. These Ranza carefully loaded into the sack for the rest of the party to haul out, and then swam out behind.
Just as they were pulled out the sack, the party's attention was drawn up the hill by a shout from Thrax. A dozen ochre-men were heading down the slopes towards them. It seems Hobbs didn't do a good enough job of covering their tracks. The ochre-men threw a couple of volley's of spears, and the party responded with arrows, killing one of their attackers. That was enough for the ochre-men, and they turned and retreated up over the hill and out of sight once more.
With all the excitement over for the day, the party now had to rest before continuing on their journey. Setting out once more in the late afternoon, they followed the black dog down out of the hills and into the forest. He led then through a strange area, a vast expanse of wood where the undergrowth was cleared away and low barrows were scatters amongst the ancient trees. Making note of this area on their map, they decided to push on. They did encounter a pair of ghostly figures just as they were exiting the barrow field; two humans of obvious ancient origin who did not respond to any inquires and gestures form the party. Pushing on, the party next passed though a boggy area dotted with pools of ochre and signs of activity; broken baskets, wooden tools and so on. But no signs of a campsite. Once more the party opted to continue on and perhaps come back at a later time.
Their night of travel passed without future event, as did their day of rest. Moving on into the hills one more, they climbed a lightly forested slope and through a double line of huge megaliths. These ranged from 15'-40' high, and unlike the black standing stones were unevenly and crudely shaped. Once more with just a cursory glance they made note of the location and continued on. Climbing down the slope on the other side they encounter a trio mounted on horseback. They wore brightly burnished golden armor, and upon being hailed by the party introduced themselves as the Knights of Brass. Their leader, a woman by the name of Tantith, was somewhat alarmed when Gnarl first explained he was following a quest involving standing stones. But she relaxed when it was obvious the standing stones in question were not the megaliths they'd just passed. When prompted, she explained the stones where the enscrolled remains of giants from the ancient days, and they would sometimes come to life via a process she did not know. It was the duty of the Knights of Brass to keep watch over the megaliths and if necessary deal with any giant who comes to life. Hobbs piped up to say they were giant killers too, and told her of the giant of Wickerwood. She commended the party, but noted these ancient giants were much more powerful than those still extent in the Forest today. She was also coy when asked about the history of their order, it being unclear whether these particular knights had stood watch over the centuries or were simply the latest in a long line of guardians.
Parting ways with the Knights of Brass, the party pushed on once more and by daybreak the next day had the last black standing stone in sight. It stood tall and obvious on a bare hill, and after resting again for the day the party approached their destination. Getting closer, they could see crude structures and figures clustered around the hilltop where the stone stood. Ranza, now invisible, moved ahead to scout. She reported back that the creatures were ogres, possibly up to a dozen of the creatures. There were also a number of crude pens in which she could see people; men, women and children. These it seemed were being fattened by the ogres for future feasting. She also noted a small figure lashed to the base of the standing stone itself. It would seem the last stage of the Twilight Path would be the most challenging to complete ...
13 Gems (Azurite-25 sp, Hematite-10 sp, Moonstone-75 sp, Amber-500 sp, Rock Crystal-100 sp, Spinel-500 sp, Bloodstone-75 sp, Turquoise-25 sp, Bloodstone-100 sp, Rhodochrosite-50 sp, Lapis Lazuli-50 sp, Star Rose Quartz-75 sp, Chrysoprase-75 sp)
Potion of Flying
Potion of Wood Gnome Control
Scroll of Ward Against Fire
Sword +1, +3 vs dragons
Wand of Ice
Lologolog, the Faerie Dragon
Lologolog, the Faerie Dragon