Ranza (Changeling 4)
Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Vegarious (Changeling 4)
Thrax [NPC] (Fighter 3)
The sun rose bright and hot the next day, and the party shoved the raft out into midstream to begin their journey. Shortly after leaving shore, Jonesomon observed a short figure on the south bank, standing at the edge of the trees and watching them. He called a greeting, but with no response. When Gnarl did the same, the figure (a wood gnome?) raised a hand in greeting and then disappeared into the bush. The party opted to not pursue, and instead enjoyed a leisurely and lazy day floating downriver under the sun. Evening was approaching as they passed the point where the northern river joined the main River of Sorrows. Knowing the huge rapids were not far ahead, the party hauled the raft onto the north shore and set up camp. It was just getting dark when Vegarious heard something rustling in the brush at the edge of camp. As Ranza and Thrax stayed with the mules, everyone else headed into the thickets to investigate. Right away, a flurry of sling stones shot out of the foliage and into the investigating party and camp. Vegarious, glimpsing figures moving in the semi-darkness, lit the night with a colour spray and the hail of stones ceased. Moving forward, the party found a group of bush imps, whom they quickly dispatched. Then suddenly another spray of stones came from across the river, and Ranza likewise loosed a colour spray across the waters and ended that threat. Hobbs swam across on his froggy steed and found more unconscious bush imps who were likewise dispatched.
The rest of the night passed with incident, and the party set out once more under a warm sun. They did not make it far before they could see and hear the rapids ahead; a mile long stretch of rock and white water. To the south was a high bluff which would prevent portage of the raft, whereas to the north the land was flat. There was some discussion of running the rapids and taking their chances, but in the end they poled to the north bank to look around. They found an old overgrown portage trail, and Jonesomon and Hobbs decided to scout ahead. The trail lead through forest before breaking out onto an old avalanche slope, an open span of scrub brush and huge tumbled boulders. The trail passed once more into the trees and some time later emerged back out onto the river below the rapids. It would be tough going and take most of the day, but they could get the raft down the trail. The pair headed back to let the party know. When they passed through the boulders, the sharp eyed Jonesomon noted something unusual. One of the man sized boulders had moved and now stood atop the rock pile. Looking around, he noted signs that several others had moved at various times in the past, days or months ago. Sneaking up and around, he approached the boulder from the north. He saw no sign of it being dragged there, but it almost looked like it 'walked' up the slope itself. He also noted it was very faintly vibrating or rocking back and forth.
Hobbs and Jonesomon slipped back to the party and told them what they had seen. There was renewed debate about running the rapids, but it was unclear what danger the rock slope presented. So Thrax consulted the quilt of augury: would taking the portage be a good or bad idea? The threads of the quilt rearranged themselves to show the party bloodied and smashed on the rock slopes. Humm, maybe the rapids were a better idea? After more debate, they decided to take the portage after all, figuring they were at least prepared now for whatever danger lay ahead. With the raft and mules to the rear, the party moved down the trail and onto the rocky slope. They made it just below the boulder when it started to move; it grew little stubby rock legs and proceeded down the slope towards the party. Vegarious hit it with the last shot of her wand of cold, the frosty blast cracking the rock and flaking off layers. Gnarl slowed it a bit with entangle, and the rest of the party charged in behind a cloud of arrows, lead by the raging badger Hobbs. The stone grew arms and fought back, landing vicious blows on several of the party that very nearly made truth of the quilt omen. But repeated and hard blows finally weakened it to the point where the stone split into several large pieces and fell into a jumble of rubble. Sifting through it uncovered a few rough garnets which were chipped out and dropped in the treasure bag.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully as the party struggled to get the raft back to the river. It being the end of the day as they did so, camp was set up once more. Apart from a slight interruption of sleep as the party was awoken by a bellowing herd of elk in the darkness around them, the night passed without incident and the party rose to a rainy day to continue their journey down the river. They did not get far before Hobbs, riding Froggy on point ahead of the raft, observed something large in the water moving towards them. They watched warily as it came closer to the raft until they could see it was a large catfish. The fish butted up against the side of raft, not too violently but as it trying to change it's course. Gnarl cast speak with animal to ask what the creature wanted. The catfish, Gurble by name, was a polite and charming gentleman who had a bit of a problem. A giant crayfish had taken over his lair and he was looking for help to evict the unwanted guest. He offered a ring of water breathing to any great hero who could help him. After some discussion, the party agreed and Gurble led them to the site of his lair, a cave in the rocks at the bottom of the river. Gnarl and Ranza both jumped in, taking turns with the ring to cast spells while the other held breath. They found the crayfish lurking in the cave, and Ranza used colour spray to blind it while Gnarl stabbed it with with spear and shocked it. A flurry of pinching claws and pointy weapons ensued, and in a while the party had a large crayfish hauled ashore to dismembered for lunch. Gurble thanked them once more and then disappeared back to his home.
Back on the raft, the expedition continued on. They had to portage past another set of rapids, thankfully without incident this time, before they finally came within sight of the village of Coldhome. A centre of iron mining and smelting, it lay under a cloud of black smoke on the bluff above the river. A set of docks lay at the base of the bluff, so the party tied up there and were directed by surly longshoremen up the path to village. They decided to stay a few days to rest and refit, settling into the Crow and Crucible Inn. While comfortable, they certainly didn't feel welcome in Coldhome, most everyone being cold and unfriendly at best. The one exception was Father Altan at the Shrine of St Oda, the Watcher in the Pit. He was a cheerful old man with lots to say. The party went looking for potions of healing, and Father Altan could offer them two (at 600sp each). He called them Tears of St.Oda, and informed the party they came from a spring deep in the abandoned Red Rock Mine, and alas, he could get no more as the mine was now filled with horrid monsters and it was much too dangerous to get to the spring. The party thanked him for his kindness, and filed away the information about the mine for future reference.
After a few days rest, the party pushed off again. It was just before noon that they approached their intended landing point at an eastward bend in the river. Hauling up the raft and hiding it well in the brush, they prepared to head overland towards the lost Fortress of Iacarta.
5 garnets (25sp each)
ring of water breathing
16 bush imps
16 bush imps