1. Lord Von Buren and the Mayor of Hatheril begin to show signs of weariness as they argue over what the Hatheril Sherif’s Department should do next.
Guessing that the Emerald Claw was only providing the undead portion of the enemy force, Lord Von Buren sugests that the group go after the other half of the invading army. The Mayor however disagrees with him and wants the men to travel back to Sword Keep to obtain reinforcements from Captain Aramis.
2. Everyone except for Riven gives away all of their healing items to the House Jorasco Healers.
Giving unto Hatheril
Fed up with the bickering between Lord von Buren and Hatheril’s rather unfortunate mayor, Borik and the group step away to check on the work being performed by the healers of House Jorasco.
Borik approaches one of the apparent administrators of the healing contingent. “How goes the effort to restore the people of Hatheril?”
The House Jorasco healer takes a deep breath. “It is difficult, m’lord.” He points to the pile of corpses off in the distance, a grim remembrance of the horrible things done by Bad Guy. “Some of the people are beyond our efforts. Others, on the other hand, can be saved, but not without great effort.” The Jorasco healer tries to smile, despite the oppressive air about them all.
Borik tucks at his mail shirt and takes a step forward. “What can I do to help, then?” Drak lets out a smile, amused by the dwarf’s resolve yet contemplating whether or not Borik truly understands the scope of the situation.
“Your assistance is welcome, m’lord. However…” The Jorasco healer looks over the group, a motley crew of adventurers, and shrugs. “I am not sure if you have the skills that we require.”
Drak takes a step forward. “Perhaps you are right, friend. However, I would beg to ask… Is there anything we can get for you to aid you in your efforts to restore the people of Hatheril?”
Borik looks over to Drak, a little confused. Picking up on Drak’s cue, Borik continues. “Yes! We could get you supplies, equipment you could use to aid the people here!”
The Jorasco healer smiles. “Of course, my friends.” He pauses, looking over the group. “If you have any healing salves or potions, that would aid us in our efforts. Although the healing process required to restore the people is not the same as that found in such a concoction, we are familiar enough with the magics involved to… convert it.” His smile fades as he turns back towards a nearby patient.
Drak and Borik look at each other and then back at the party. Harlan and LODROS reach into their packs, withdrawing the few healing items that they had stowed. Borik and Drak also eagerly search through their belongings for anything which could be of assistance. They find potions, salves, and bandages, all items useful for healing the sick and injured. The group pools the items and Borik collects them into a bag for presentation to the House Jorasco representative.
“Will this help?”
The Jorasco healer looks into the bag briefly, assessing its contents. “Yes! This is wonderful, friends! With this, we can keep people going for a substantial time.” His seemingly hidden smile opens broadly. “Yes. I can see that this will help us for some time.”
3. Lodros Spots some Gnoll scouts in the distance watching over Hatheriland the team chases them down. At the mouth of a cave they battle the scouts and some Goblinoids that appear to be guarding the entrance. Harlan Lagrasse believes that the Goblinoids are using powerful magic emanating from the Far Realm.
4. The team decides to rest after the battle at the mouth of the cave. During the Night both Harlan Lagrasse and Riven feel compelled to explore it further.
As the group makes camp at the mouth of the cave, Riven stands watch, his undying gaze staring deep into the cavernous entrance. As he looks, his mind slowly wanders into the cave, focusing on something just beyond his sight. As the campfire burns itself out, he continues to stare into the darkness, straining to hear something just beyond his senses. A strange voice, or maybe more of a feeling, calls out to him. A force he has not felt, the dark touch of the Death God, reaches for him, calling him into the cave. As the strange feeling overcomes him, he loses focus, lost in the dark…
“Harlan!” A stout whisper calls out. “Harlan!”
Harlan awakens with a jerk. He looks about the campfire but sees nothing of note.
The neurotic fellow looks towards the cave, trying to find the source of the voice.
“Harlan! Can’t you see me?”
Harlan looks around, struggling to see who is calling. Drack and Borik are sound asleep. LODROS lies by the dead campfire, apparently in some sort of shutdown cycle. Riven is nowhere to be seen. Harlan calls out to the darkness: “Riven? My ghoulish friend, is that you?”
“Of course not, you fool! It’s me!”
Harlan, startled, looks around for the source of the voice. “Me? Who are you?” Harlan scratches his head as a strange fear creeps into his conscious mind. Nobody responds to his question. He calls out, a little louder. “Who?”
In the distance, at the mouth of the cave, a strange noise erupts. Quiet at first, it grows in magnitude. The horrifying sounds of thousands of maddening creatures washes over Harlan for a brief instant. Harlan tries to let out a scream, but finds himself unable to do so.
Harlan’s vision fills with a tumult of horrifying images. He can see creatures from the dark reaches of Xoriat, the Realm of Madness, tear across the beautiful land of Khorvaire. In instant, the horrible images fade, leaving him staring at the mouth of the cave.
A voice calls out in the silence:
“From beneath you, it devours.”
Riven regains his senses, standing at the mouth of the cave. Surrounded by darkness, he hears nothing but the scurry of creatures in the darkness. A voice calls out to him, but he cannot make out what it tries to say.
“Who is there? What do you want from me?”
From the darkness, Riven hears a chorus of whispers, one over the other, slowly build to a cacophony. When the noise becomes all but deafening, Riven hears the piercing scream of a woman. Somehow, the scream reverberates through his wilted soul.
A cry for help, perhaps. Or a warning. Luckily, Riven has never been one for heeding warnings.
Borik and Drak rouse early as LODROS prepares an array of concoctions for the coming day. Riven, still on guard, ponders the strange events of the evening. Harlan, the last to awaken, does so with a fright. He looks about in a panic, not certain as to how to interpret what he saw.
Borik looks around as the group readies itself for the day. “So. We need to make a choice. Should we head into the cave? Or…”
“We must go in.” Riven looks across the camp at Borik. “It is important that we explore further.”
Drak looks over at Riven, somewhat puzzled. As he is about to speak, Harlan jumps from his bedroll. “Yes! Most assuredly! There is some cosmic connection…” He fumbles for his Astral Map. “Something…” He looks quickly across the map, trying to find something to explain what he saw. He traces his finger from Xoriat to Eberron. “I am not sure, but…” He looks to the sky, hoping some answer awaits him there. “There is something in this cave.” He taps his map authoritatively, trying to hide his own lack of understanding. “We must explore further.”
Borick and Drak look at each other quixotically. Drak shrugs. “Alright.”
Riven nods quietly. “I am certain that something important awaits us below.”
Harlan looks confused, trying to understand the meaning of his nocturnal vision. “Yes… something important, no doubt.” As he stares at Xoriat’s place on his Astral Map, he mumbles under his breath, “Certainly not anything dangerous.”
5. The following morning the group ventures further into the cave, believing it to house at least some part of the army they are searching for. Unfortunately they become lost in the twists and turns of what turns out to be a much deeper cave complex than they originally thought.