The Fallen Skies

Sergeant Thurlow's Report

As requested, by the order of Thane Anders, I am setting down the events of yesterday on paper to be sent to his grace, Earl Alther.
I am Thurlow, Sergeant of Fuilache, and veteran of the giant war. I stood the wall at Fuilache when the Skullcleaver raged, and I did not fall back from the gate. I’ve fought the goblin raiders and held against the cursed magic of the Barrow-Lord. I am a veteran and I stand by my word.
Thane Anders commanded my squad to travel down the road to Saxenford and find the ruined farmstead of Holgrid White; from there we were to seek out and destroy the nest of giant ants found by the mercenaries in the employ of the Factor of Harm. My lads were confident about our ability to handle some big bugs, particularly if the three mercenaries had been able to raid the nest and escape unscathed. I will say, I was a bit relieved to have the three join us, as they could give us a hand and some information on what we’d find.
The mercenaries were a strange lot. An Eladrin of the Autumn Court, very skilled with sword and his fey magics. A brawler from Grammercy, I think he said, who we laughed at when he said he went into battle with naught but his fists; none of us laugh at him now. And a stick of a lad from Saxenford who is a wizard of the old ways; he’s young, aye, but brave, and now gathering a fine collection of scars.
The mercenaries had us search around the farmstead and copse of trees for some old ruins, but finding naught, we cleared our way to the ant hill. I’ve seen strange things in my life, but an ant hill standing near 20’ up, and wider than a wagon at the top, was new. This was my first clue that things weren’t going to be easy.
As soon as we entered, with rope and torches ready, we were attacked. Flying critters, thankfully not fully grown, or at least not as big as the burrowing ants from the ground, attacked almost as soon as we started roping in. We found that the tunnels were trapped with collapsing floors, dropping us into acid filled pits. And the ants would swarm along the ceilings to drop on us unaware, or burrow up through the ground to take us from behind.
We set up a cordon around the rope, and left two men there to guard it. And a good thing we did, for it became a safe place to evacuate the wounded.
I have witnessed heroism and the valor of soldiers, but seeing how Nivek and the Eladrin, Thornquill, fairly flew about the small tunnels and caverns was something I’d never seen. As soon as one of my troop was hard-pressed or in danger of falling, one of those two would be there, to take up the slack and drive the ants back. And the wizard, casting flames about, shaking the ground and driving, always driving, the ants back into the dark. His magic did make my skin crawl at times, but no more than the glee that Nivek the Stonefist took in smashing ants to pulp with his bare hands— ants whose shells kept our spears and arrows at bay.
We finally fought through to a cavern that Tolan the Wizard said was the Hive Queen’s chamber. I and three of my troopers were still on our feet, and ready to give good account of ourselves. Battle was joined almost immediately and my troop and I, shamed I am to report, were overwhelmed by the Queen’s acid spray.
We won this battle, I can report, due to the courage, the skill and the power of the three mercenaries. Tolan the Mage was grievously wounded, but a healing elixir fixed the hole in his guts nicely. My men and I recovered, scarred and burned, and were able to pull back to the entrance, after burning the Queen and her eggs.
I commend Thornquill, the Eladrin, Nivek the Stonefist, and Tolan of Saxenford, for the service they did. Their first foray against the ants was for coin; this second proved them to be good, honest men of valour.

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Journal 1, Entry 3
Ants, Horrors, Relics & stolen children

We followed the cries of the children down to another cavern, it’s floor pitted with deep pools of glowing green water, and a small horde of ants. We dispatched these drones & warriors more swiftly, however it was difficult not to stumble into the slimy pools in the chamber. multiple tunnels exited, but we once again followed the tunnel at which the childrens cries were loudest.

This tunnel led to a horrible chamber filled with the carcasses of the farm animals the ants had dragged back, as well as an cold, unnatural mist. The mist was generated by a stone plinth in the center of the chamber. Two more of the Fell Taints attended the Plinth, and hidden amongst the carcasses were another small horde of ants. We triumphed, though I missed the end of the battle, having been knocked unconscious by one of the warrior ants. Nivek & Thornquill found a cache of enchanted devices within the plinth, one of which was a healing potion – which they used to bring me round.

We quickly moved on through the tunnels following the childrens cries and found them in what could only be the buried remains of a old cathmeran ruin. The ant tunnel gave way to a timbered & shored up earthwork cave, which led to a small chamber where the children were held. The chamber was guarded by some sort of small stone homunculus or stonework golem – they were fast, but having been warned by the children we were able to dispatch them quickly.

We recovered all but one of the children, the youngest (Micah??) had apparently been taken by a “dwarf with purple glowing eyes” through a “glowing doorway” just before we arrived.

Thornquill & I explored the chamber & found no doors, trap doors or secret passages. The wall upon which the children had seen the door, however, still emanated traces of magic. We surmised that this dwarf had opened a temporary portal or gate to elsewhere. Neither of us has the expertise to identify where the gate led, let alone re-open it.

The chamber where the children were held was very old, containing symbols & icons of pre-Cathemeran heretic saints. A stone chest in the chamber contained more coin and an enchanted headband that allows for the translation of languages. The markings on the chest denoted it as belonging to an officer of one of the Sky-Lord directorates – though it;s hard top know how long the chest had been here. also within the chest was a bag of newly minted gold coins from Arryn.
I’m sure the Factor will be interested in hearing that.

We took along the plinth as well, I’ll have to confirm it, but I suspect it is one of the ancient Cathermeran relics referred to as “The Instrumentalities of the Night”. It is quiescent now, but while it held enchanted item within it’s secret compartment it evoked the chill mist that covered the floor of the chamber, and I suspect it may have been part of whatever dark magics called the Fell taints through the Veils into our world. Thornquill could sense an other power source similar to this nearby. I am going to suggest we return to the ant-hill to ensure no other such relics remain active.

We have continued on to town return the children to their mother, and to rest & tend our wounds.
I fear I shall not sleep well tonight, every time I close my eyes I recall the maddening whispers of the fell taints, the phantom touch of their tendrils in my mind, the pressing darkness of the earth & the horrible clicking of the ants.
Perhaps Nivek has the right of it, he was into his second bottle as I returned to my room.

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Journal 1 Entry 2
Following the Ant Trail

Ant2The farm has been ravaged by the giant ants – we found what proved to be the farmer killed during the attacks. The ants seem to have carried off or killed any livestock. A brave soul called Hengest joined us at the farm, he has some skill at healing & is obviously skilled in the martial arts. We debated immediately tracking down the ants (for a fear they may attack other farmsteads), but we decided we should report back to to the Factor as we have been paid to escort him north to the mills.
We reported back & (how I missed this I’ll not know) it appears that the farm-wife had children taken by the ants! The Factor asked us (and Hengest) to rescue the children, offering an extra 50 gold to do so, sadly the Factor only seems motivated by making a good impression on the locals.
Nivek seems especially pleased by the extra coin, though I suspect Thornquill would have attempted the rescue without additional inducement. I fear this search will have a tragic ending, for I can’t imagine the children will be alive when we find the nest.
Find the nest won’t be a problem, annts the size of ponys leave a fine trail for an eladrin tracker like Thornquill.
-————————-
The nest was..unexpected.
A mount like you’d expect, though roughly 50’ across and 20 ‘high at the center, but they’ve turned the soil to stone through some alchemical process that smaller ants don’t seem to use – though the beasts can easily dig through it. I suspect only the outer layers of the anthill is solid (perhaps a handspan?). I’ve made note that I need to keep a good distance away from my companions to make best use of my spells, both the arc of flame and thunderstaff would have been useful in the fight, but each would have caught my new companions in their effect.
Interestingly the ants appear to have been controlled by a very rare extra-dimensional creature known as a thought eater. One of a class of creatures know as Fell Taints, alien beasts that slip into our world from their home dimension to hunt. The Thought Eater, according to lore, is a rather minor scavenger in it’s home dimension, akin to a fox. In our world the bizarre looking mass of tendrils uses a psychic assault to numb the minds of it’s victims, slowing & eventually immobilizing them so that it might feed of their bodies & psychic energies. They are said to be particularly susceptible to psychic spells & most likely psionic powers. We managed to slay it with spells & weapons, though it’s extra-dimensional nature made it very difficult to hurt. I’m not sure if we slew it or if it simply retreated to it’s home dimension, as no body was left.
We’ve decided to venture down into the nest (massive hole, ringed with narrow grooves, possibly to make the climb easier for the ants – we’re using a rope.
Thought eater
-————————————————————————————
Tougher ants down here – I have to get quicker on the draw, everyone leapt into action again before I could bring to bear an arc of flame – still the magebolt serves it’s purpose.
The place seems guarded by soldier ants – much tougher, and they have a poison stinger. We’re battered & tired, but no one has received a serious wond yet – though Thornquill came close to being poisoned. We prevailed & despite all odds we’ve heard the cries of the children off in two of the tunnels. Down we go.
-——————————————————————————————————————————————

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Journal 1 Entry 1
Bugs at the Farm

The time has finally come, a servant of Castigation has come to the Crowned Rose to claim one of the bundles and I finally have a chance to repay our family’s debt to the Eladrin.

Thornquill is the name the warrior-mage goes by, and the bundle meant for him contains an enchanted blade. He has not been forthcoming with it’s powers, and I do not wish to pry.
He has come from the south on a nameless mission, but has readily accepted my offer of aid, so I can only guess he was told he could find allies here in Saxenford.
I introduced him to Nyvek, as the man is clearly in need to some coin, work or goal and sitting in our tavern day after day nursing an ale is not doing him much good. I hope one day Nyvek will be forthcoming as to how such a highly trained warrior came to such low station, but we all have our secrets so I will respect his silence on the matter.

Within a day of Thornquill’s arrival the Factor from Harm was in the Crowned Rose looking for the Eladrin, seeking his aid in contacting the various lumber mills in the northern reaches (the King is building boats & is seeking a good lumber contract.) He’s offered us each 25 gold to accompany him on a tour of the mills. Thornquill’s travels are taking him north to the wood anythi, so he signed on. Nyvek is only too glad to have coin again. I of course will go where the Eladrin leads until fate decrees otherwise.

A few hours from Saxonford we found a farm=wife bleeding at the side of the track. We could see smoke rising from her nearby farmstead, and she claimed the “buggins” has attacked her family.
Leaving the factor & his hired guards to help the woman, Thornquill, Nyvek & I advanced to the farm to find two burned outbuildings and 6 pony sized insects (they resembled ants) tearing at the remaining structures.

Nyvek launched himself (weaponless!) on the roof of the farmhouse to attack three of the bugs, while Thornquill & I engaged on ones on ground. Master Thornquill wields magic in a way that I’ve not seen before – channeling his magic through his swordplay. I did not have enough time to study his or Nyvek’s battle techniques & tactics as the fight went much more quickly than I would have expected. The Burning Hands spell is quite effective, but I find the summoning & controlling a fire warrior very tiring.

More later, I think Thornquill has seen someone in the ruins of the outbuildings…
T.M.

Ant

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

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One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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