- Find the Way Out (900xp, Skill Challenge)
- Ambush on the South Road (2778xp, Outdoor Ambush)
- Clearing the Gnoll Lair (3650xp, Cave Assault)
- Tracking the Gnolls (900xp, Skill Challenge)
- 2000gp in mixed coin and valuables
- A level 9 magical neck slot item
- 8228xp Total (1371xp Each)
With the Abbess kidnapped, the party found themselves well and thoroughly lost in the extensive works of the mines beneath castle hill. The tunnels extended for miles, and it took them hours to find their way out, but they did. As they made the trek, they interrogated a young Adept of the Ferrous Order of Knights, whom they had incapacitate and captured at the conclusion of their previous battle.
His knowledge was limited – even under magical compulsion to answer, he had little enough to offer them – but they did learn at least two important things: First, they learned that the Abbess and her relic were likely being held in either Caer Baen in the North, or Fort Dust in the South. But second, and more ominous, they learned that the Sanction possess the arcane means to track them. “Any time you can see the starts… the stars see you…” said the Adept.
As they neared the exit of the mine, the party happened upon the unconscious form of another of their foes. The young Sanctioner from their previous battle had apparently fallen from a higher tunnel, broken her leg badly, and passed out from the pain. Planning to question her the next day, when they had secured shelter and rested, they gathered her up and made good their escape.
The party headed South-East from Castle Hill, leaving the town under a pal of smoke, and evading the Athar presence in the area as they moved cross country. Knowing that they needed to find shelter before the stars were out, they pressed quickly on. Bael suggested they might find a cave to shelter in, amongst the wooded foothills, and once away from the town lead them onto a country road that would take them there.
The country they passed through that afternoon was anything but safe however. Though the road they traveled was no major thoroughfare, it was locally known to be the domain of a band of highwaymen who prayed on the passing traffic and local farmers. A small group traveling on foot was likely to draw their attention, and did, though the creatures that attacked the party where not quite what anyone had expected.
From the woods on either side of the road, the party was set upon not by men or monsters, but by a force of canine constructs, and their Warforged master. Indeed the only two typical humanoids in the enemy group were a pair of Gnoll archers, apparently in cahoots with the animate brigand. The pack of constructs engaged the party while their masters fired in on them from afar, but the lot of them were no match for such the adventurers, and soon enough the highwaymen were no more.
In the wake of the highwaymen’s ambush, it was suggested that the bandits’ own camp might prove a useful enough shelter for the oncoming night. It could not be far off, and so the party set off cross country again, following the trail their attackers had left behind as best they could, until they approached – by stealth, as it happened – the mouth of a cavern, disguised behind the brush and bracken.
Not knowing what to expect in the hidden cave, the group ventured in with care, and found their caution well justified. It seemed a small tribe of Gnolls was resident in the place, and that the raiding party that had been encountered by the road had been working with their assistance. Though they had the element of surprise, the party was discovered, and chose to fight, wiping the Gnolls out in a ferocious battle that saw their resources thoroughly spent.
During the battle in the Gnoll’s lair, there was a single non-Gnoll present. A green robed man – human, and wearing the mark of the Athar at his neck – joined with the Gnolls against them, wielding potent magic. Though the adventurers avoided the worst of his powers, one thing at least was noteworthy about him: his powers, though channeled like those of a Warlock, through arcane means, were fueled by raw, divine energy. A strange thing indeed for a missionary of the philosophy of the Godless to wield.