After camping outside Black Crystal Port, the party was joined by Amare and set out for Aberswythe, a city to the south where they hoped to find some clues about the purpose of their mysterious runed tablet. Along the way they met a cartographer, Behrtio Hent, who seemed to be a bit odd but friendly enough. The cartographer’s local map of the area didn’t appear to have much in the way of useful details, so the party continued without purchasing any maps.
As the sky darkened on their first day, the party heard music in the distance and, after some discussion, went to investigate. What they discovered was a traveling troupe, and Wren felt right at home in an instant. The party was fed and provided drink, though some were suspicious and chose to eat from their own rations. Wren conversed with the leader of the troupe, Rihmad Damahl, who said he had heard tell of other troupes, east across the mountains, but nothing local and nothing recent.
After a time, Wren was challenged to a musical duel. Both Wren and Rihmad played two songs, and it was determined that Wren, who played both songs masterfully, was the victor. After some more talk and merriment, the party slept.
In the morning, the troupe was gone, but faint clues led the party to investigate, and they found three burnt out wagons a ways off. In one of the wagons they discovered a musical case, intact, which contained a lute. The lute gave off a sense of excitement and danger, hining at some magic within, but gave away no more of its secrets, even after being strung and played.
Wren packed the lute away after the party determined that the haversack they discovered on their first adventure was magical and could store far more than it belied without gaining any weight. Disconcerted and a bit sad about the ghost troupe, for that is surely what it had been, but with no apparent recourse in discovering the cause or agent of the troupe’s destruction, the party continued on in their journey to Aberswythe.
After another long day of travel they set up camp off the road in a wood. They knew that Amare’s father would likely be searching for them by now, and wanted to camp and avoid detection if his patrols came looking for them.
In the middle of the night a scream was heard from the distance, and the party set out to investigate. They quickly came upon an estate with a vinyard and a large house. The screams were coming from the house and their were patrols outside. Wren set the patrols to a magical sleep, and they were tied up while the party continued toward the house, leaving Bineal behind to guard the sleeping (and now trussed) enemy agents.
Mavi and Wren entered on the ground floor, followed hesitantly by Amare, while Dezzmyr scaled the house and made an approach along the roof. More enemy agents were dispatched on the ground floor and the group made its way upstairs, overcoming additional enemies as they approached the source of the screams. Finally they reached an upstairs, master bedroom, where the leader of the enemy band was harassing the mistress of the house. Just as Wren, Mavi, and Amare entered through the door, Dezzmyr performed a running jump, hook, and flip from the roof, crashing through the window into the room, ready to battle.
The cult leader, for that is who the party found it to be, was the toughest adversary they had yet faced. He was large and strong, and summoned magical spears that lashed out at the group from nowhere, only to disappear again. The party gave as good as it got, however, and was able to dispatch the cultist and rescue the husband and wife who owned the estate.
After some clean-up and rest, the party questioned the family, Zahner Ravenskull and his wife, as well as the two cultists who were being guarded. The cult was called the “Church of the Righteous Hand” and appeared to be some kind of racist group that generally preyed upon weaker beings including kobolds, goblins, and the like. These they often captured and took to the southeast, where they were apparently either set to work or sold into slavery. The church had been founded by religious zealots who, when they came to this land looking for plenty, found only deserts and wastes. This shock led them to forsake their gods and turn to new, dark gods. The cult was known to harass the area but had not, to this point, attacked other humans. The reason for the change was unknown but worth investigation.
The party noted the cultist’s tattoos before disposing of the bodies. Those of lower rank in the cult appeared to have fewer tattoos, while the leader they had defeated had many more. The designs were the same, however, leading the party to deduce that the ink was ritualistic and denoted rank within the cult. They made a sketch of the tattoo designs from the cult leader before burning the body.
After discussing what to do with the remaining cultists, the party decided to leave them, tied up, in a food storage shed, while the local garrison was called to pick them up. The party would not stick around to wait, but the farmer and his wife said they would be fine. Finally, after some discussion, the group agreed to continue towards Aberswythe, as the runed tablet was still in their possession and they needed to uncover its mysteries before it got them into more trouble.
Thus continues our grand adventure …