Dalelands

Dalelands, Session 01

Enter the Heroes

The year is 1544.

In Highmoon, Shiel prepares a small caravan with the local resistance against the growing Zhentarim incursions carrying provisions to Shadowdale. He's supposed to deliver them to Lhaeo the previous scribe of Elminster who seems to be planning "something big". The caravan includes two wagons and two packing mules. A pig farmer is manning one of them while a tradeswoman in steering the other.

With him is a fellow guard, Horrick. Shiel foolishly lets the slightly deranged Horrick talk him into using the secret "elven paths" in the direction of Sembia to avoid possible Zhentarim raiding parties. The caravan promptly gets lost in the forest and happens upon Nimue who has set up camp there and who decides to accompagny them out of the wilderness. After stirges attack one of the donkeys and one of the wagons carrying a few barrels breaks down, the group has to move on leaving some of the items behind.

Weary, the caravan finally reaches Ashabenfurt. They are eyed suspiciously by thugs and thieves as they trudge through the streets trying to find a place for the night. They see a kenku being kicked out of one of the bars. Using mimicry he sets the thugs on each other and a fight breaks on inside.

The kenku who introduces himself as Kerrick notices the group and offers to find them a safe place to rest. He also tells them about the Dons who rule Ashabenfurt with their brutal gangs.

To protect their remaining provisions, the wagon and remaining donkey are guarded throughout the night. Kerrick asks them if he can come along since he's on a trip to the north anyway. The group agrees.

They travel along a street passing a few hill graves and decide to brave the road through another forest. According to local stories there's supposed to be a ruin of a shrine to Chauntea. Kerrick has heard in town that even bandits are staying clear of that region after a string of disappearances.

As they finally reach the lost ruin which is situated close to a small cemetery they are greeted by shrill voices and feral growling as goblins ambush the party. A few of them are riding feral wargs. In the middle of combat, a warm light washes over the clearing and the stunned onlookers turn their heads to the altar. A humanoid figure with lilac skin appears. When the light fades, the adventurers recognize her as a newly-born deva, taking her first breath and her first careful steps. One of Shiel's new followers from Ashabenfurt steps forward, revealing herself to be the goddess Chauntea. The good-hearted amongst the onlookers can see and hear the goddess, overwhelmed by the experience. The others just stare at the new Deva, unable to move. Chauntea names the Deva her new cleric. "Bring back the light….", Chauntea asks of Thana, "…follow the path of Laothan…". A chest materializes at her feet – clothes, a mace and a magical holy symbol. A valuable gift.

With that, Chauntea's presence fades out. Combat resumes. As Thana recognizes the evil creatures defiling the sacred ground she quickly picks up her new weapons and lets Chauntea's blessing guide her attacks.  

Thana's holy powers fell several of the goblins who retaliate with their shortbows and wound Thana and Nimue.

The adventurers watch in horror as Horrick is killed by three goblins ganging up on him. While several goblin reinforcements arrive, Shiel manages to get rid of the goblins he's fighting with.

Nimue shows her arcane abilities and pelts a few with lightning bolts while Kerrick manages to get the drop on one of them.

A goblin shaman finally signals the other humanoids to retreat. Thana checks the fallen comrades. Surprisingly, Horrick turns out not to be quite dead, so Thana is able to save his life. Having felt Chauntea's light, Horrick converts to the faith of the goddess. The driver of the cart is dead however. Kerrick rummages through her belongings and procures a tapestry which displays a tower in a forest, circled by ravens. Also, 3 rings are found. One has the shape of a dragon. 

In the confusion, Thana's chest has disappeared. It can be traced to a secret passageway underneath the altar. Someone must have dragged it below the ruined temple.

Nimue lends her coat to Thana so that she can cover herself. The party descends into the darkness.

 

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