Chieftain Aelcora goes on to elaborate that her daughter Xamanthe had been on a patrol on the southern reaches of the Dunsward, facing towards Olah’Kahkanet, their Valley of the Dead, when she saw large, shadowy figures amongst the mountain. She then reported it back to her mother and the rest of the tribe, concerned over who was intruding on their forbidden lands. Though concerned, Aelcora reminded her daughter that the Valley was forbidden to the Nomen centaur, and thought simply to keep a watchful eye to the south. Her daughter, however, has disappeared, and is presumed to have broken the taboo.
The party believed that whatever befell Varnhold, it must have come from the southern reaches amidst the mountain, and make ready to venture there (the taboo is for centaur kind, after all, not them). Exchanging some spells she found amidst the Varnhold garrison, along with gemstones, Finch procures a magical climbing rope and foghorn from the mystic centaur outcast Yeshua, he of the perpetually donned helmet. Brand and Thune in particular stock up on potions from centaur tradesmen, and Thune reluctantly turns over Skybolt in exchange for a better, if ordinary bow, saying that he’ll get that feast for them when they return, rather than waiting around. A centaur named Whinney, incidentally, laughs at all his jokes in an awkwardly flirtatious manner.
Heading southward, they bypass the mastadon lands amidst the hills, sticking to caution rather than confrontation near a particularly large herd who inhabit the bones of a long-dead linnorm. Setting camp between the mastadon hills and the valley of the dead, their slumber is nonetheless disturbed, as Thune who is on watch catches sight of a shrouded, inky blackness spiriting towards them in the dead of night. The apparition, all cloud with emerging taloned hands, attacks Thune specifically, as the other two roll to standing positions. Finch is most shocked, however, as she knows by tale that it is a Soul Eater they face, which are demonic figures summoned as assassins by evil mages to eliminate enemies. Of greatest fear is that its attacks whittle away at (and eventually eat the soul of) the target. Thune’s scratches cloud his mind as it’s claws penetrate his flesh, but nevertheless they manage to defeat it, leaving its inky black form sinking into the ground as a stain.
They await first light, and continue their journey despite Finch’s urges to flee, and a deep unease settles over them as they enter the valley. Thune is somewhat not himself, his mind troubled and clouded as they gaze upon the many bone-decorated graves, with ten foot high stones dotting the land, and ravens dotting the sky. Miles in, the valley narrows to the southwest against the foot of the mountain to an actual staircase which travels between a crack in the mountain side. Though they attempted to hide from the sound of an oncoming creature, the dread zombie cyclops descending the stairs is more perceptive than expected, and engages them in battle with it’s mighty waraxe, though falls quickly on its own, adding to the dead.
Eight miles they travel upon the staircase, up and into the mountainside, until it is late evening. An enclosed plateau lies before them, cleft in two by a waterfall and the river flowing between it… albeit, with the cliff on the far side being higher, and a pillar of an island shooting up from the middle of the water. Exploring they find signs of footprints, mixed variety, and consider their path of approach to the island which appears to be the target of their search. Thune does a pratfall down to the beach as the other two climb down the magic rope, and move to use their previously acquired folding boat to cross with. Two wyverns who live on the opposing cliff face have something to say about this, swooping down and lifting Thune right out of the boat as the Brand paddles and Finch uses the magical foghorn to blow a cloud above them, hiding them from wyvern eyes. With this in place, they miss the epic battle between elf and wyvern, as Thune manages to work his way into riding the wyvern, only to crash it down on the beach surrounding the upthrust island. The three defeat the wyvern together, before rushing back to the entrance to the island, huddling inside while Thune carves off a few wyvern scales, and Brand and Finch explore the dark corridor- finding an upended, broken urn, a lot of dust… a fair bit of oddly marked gold pieces, and a jade bracelet exactly as depicted in Maester Pendrod’s books found back at the Waterhorse Inn in Varnhold!
REWARDS and LOOTS
-8000xp (or 2670 xp each) for defeating foes (Level up to level 8!)
-Swapped spellscrolls and gems for Foghorn and Climbing Rope (magical)
-Some wyvern scales.