Malcom, Lanelle, ’Rin, Gunnar, and Jaroslav set off from the cave system, wagon in tow. A day and a night of travel later, they were intercepted by a squad of New Telic soldiers patrolling the countryside. The men were armed and armored for war.
After a few questions, the sergeant offered to escort the party to Neo Fumnira, ostensibly out of concern for their safety. The rest of the trip proved boring, aside from Jaro’s announcement that he had designed a more potent Thunderstone and his subsequent dolling out of the device.
Upon entering the city of Neo Fumnira, the party was immediately escorted to a large building that was more fortress-like than the rest of the city. The party was questioned by a captain of the army and accused of breaking-and-entering, theft, and murder. Malcom was, naturally, furious and accusatory. Jaro was nervous and irritated. Gunnar was apathetically curious. Lanelle was angry and self-assured. ’Rin was confused. After a round of questions, the party was let go due to insufficient evidence, but the weapons and armor were confiscated.
The party split up. Malcom set off in search of a cryptographer to decipher the code utilized by the Beardless papers they had “appropriated.” Gunnar went to the library to work on his epic. The other three began looking for temples under Jaro’s guidance. After an unsuccessful attempt at learning about death from Clerics of Life, Jaro sought out clerics of Wee Jas and was much more pleased with the results. Malcom found an elderly chap willing to break the code and found an inn to brood in for the remainder of the day while the man did his work.
The party found several different inns to sleep in after a debacle. Gunnar tried (unsuccessfully) to lose ’Rin.
When they woke up, they were apprehended before they could meet up, but after Malcom was thoroughly fleeced by the cryptographer (examining the newly translated papers, the party found out that the Beardless had many planned attacks on many cities. Overall, they learned that the Beardless were a fairly large organization with numerous bases and far-reaching goals). They were again questioned. This time, though, ’Rin was singled out and the “confession” the captain managed to wring out of the poor kid was, in his eyes, enough to convict. He announced to the party that prosecution was to follow shortly. Outrage abounded, pleas were begged, and threats leveled. When Lanelle mentioned his association with the Zhentari, the captain quickly made his exit. Almost an hour later he returned, clearly upset. He angrily informed the party that they were free to leave and demanded they do so immediately.
So the group fled the city.
They headed east (the only clue they had regarding Rifwylde’s whereabouts). Before long, they saw a cloud of dust in the distance. Curiosity overrode expedience and caution and the party investigated. A column of roughly 100 Human, Half-Orc, and Halfling prisoners was being herded along by a small contingent of Neo Telic cavalrymen. The party was allowed to approach to investigate one of the prisoners (clearly an important one, since he was held slightly separately from the rest) who was glaring intensely at ’Rin. The geniuses in the party determined that the man was a Karsite, a subrace of Humans capable of draining dweomered items and ignoring the effects of most spells.
The man was not forthcoming with explanations. so the party moved on. After traveling for a good while, Jaro spotted a man on horseback in the distance. He immediately started off in pursuit, with the rest of the party following. The man fled eastward. After a lengthy chase, the man dismounted from his horse and disappeared.
The party approached and discovered an Owlbear chained to a tree with a strange metal winch system sticking out of the ground nearby. The noticed a chain hanging from the contraption and descending into The Rift.
After some PETA-like concerns from Nel, the party slew the creature. Nel was lowered into The Rift with the winch. A loud buzzing noise frightened the mercenary and he called for Jaro to pull him back up. Before he could reach the top, though, two creature came flying out of a cave in the wall of the Rift. They were Spider Eaters, vicious insect-like creatures with a potent paralyzing venom! Astride one of the creatures was a Beardless wearing a yellow jacket. It seemed the party had found their quarry.
Lanelle quickly climbed into a small cave in the wall that was, at that time, occupied by the corpse of another Owlbear. The Orc shoved the body into the car and prepared for a fight. Jaro tossed an entangling bomb at the approaching fliers and was surprised and irritated to see his alchemical sludge wick right off the creature’s hide. As it turns out, the creatures known for their ability to eat spiders were naturally resistant to attempts to bind them with sticky substances. Nel was stung twice and quickly retreated deeper into his cave after a parting swing with his weapon severed the wing of one of the creatures. The body fell into The Rift. The Beardless, after a quick drenching by ‘Rin, and fearing the fall himself, quickly scrambled onto the car. Jaro took advantage of the man’s safety and threw a bomb at his former mount, causing it to burst into flame and fall. The man was now atop a burning cart, and he dove into the cave with Nel. Nel lined up a swing and smashed the flat of his blade into the man’s head, rendering him insensate. ’Rin took care of the burning cart and the party reconvened on the surface.
The man was revived and interviewed. He was, at first, tight-lipped. When he realized that his death was imminent, he broke his silence and begged that the party take care of his pets, the remaining Spider Eaters. Seeing a way to get more information out of him, they proposed a trade: the beasts’ safety for his aid. As this conversation was occurring, Lanelle suddenly felt the strength go out of his muscles. There was a heavy thud as the warrior fell flat on his face.
The party learned much from the man, including Beardless fashion, the defense tactics of this particular base,the numbers of prisoners and Beardless present, the presence of an antidote for the Spider Eaters’ venom, and the fact that he has multiple brothers. The man is relatively pleasant to talk to, and Gunnar and ’Rin convince Malcom to let him live. The Elf knocked him out and left him in the dirt as the party descended into the cave. ’Rin worked the winch and then followed via the Levitate spell.
The cave in which the party found themselves was full of pens. Several held Spider Eaters which were buzzing and hissing and grasping for the party. A small chest containing several glass vials was located. The geniuses determined that the yellow liquid in some of the vials was Spider Eater venom and the brown liquid in the others was the antidote. Nel was revived and the party opened the door deeper in to the cave, prepared to face yet another cadre of terrorists.
XP – See Session 3