Anika dives behind the statue and curses under her breath as she pulls the crossbow bolt from the writhing flesh on her back. She is grateful that Kelvin Blade, her Martial Studies instructor, made sure that she took the Fiendish Vigor invocation before she left on her journey. Her compatriots drew their weapons and rushed to the fore front.
“We are the Bringers of Woe! We guard the moving stones. We commend you for coming this far and we shall reward your curiosity with a swift death!”
Nyx roared in her bear form and charged at the bandits, Dekkarian and Art hot on her heels. Anika fired blast after blast using the statue as cover. Soon the battle was over and the bandits lay dead at their feet. Dekkarian rushes over to Anika.
“Are you ok?”
“I’m fine, don’t worry about me. Are you ok? I saw you take a couple of hits.”
Dekkarian smiles as she runs a hand over the gash on her arm. A flash of light and the wound is gone.
“It looks as if I have work to do in this world yet”
The group turns back to Baragustus. He is on his knees, head down, grovelling.
“Please spare my life. I mean you know harm, please don’t hurt me.”
Nyx, still in her bear form, roars at him.
“I think you better let us past, our friend here seems a bit worked up.” Anika suggests.
“Yes, yes. Of course. Please just don’t let it eat me.”
Dekkarian looks at Baragustus.
“So what’s in this room?”
“It is the room of prophecy, the room of the Moving Stones. We do not know much about it other than they foretell the future. The stones you see, when no one is watching the move and it is from this movement and the locations we are able to determine what they are telling us.”
Nyx shoves past Baragustus knocking the old man from his feet.
“Do not touch the stones or it will invoke the wrath of the Delvers!”
Upon entering the room Nyx can smell the scent of men, living and dead. In the center of the room is a lamp illuminating stone monoliths of various size around the room. Three large stone arches stand within the chamber and along the edge of the room are six stone slabs.
“What are these bodies on the slabs? They look like they have been mummified.” Anika says.
“They are the Delvers. They watch over and guide us in their infinite wisdom from the other side.”
“What about the boy?” Dekkarian asks, “What did he do that warranted such punishment.”
“Ah, Braelin. Well yes, I thought his punishment was a bit harsh but it was commanded that he be punished as such as he was too late in delivering the message of the collapse.”
“Who commanded such a thing?”
Art cries out in alarm, however his cry seems drawn out oddly. The others turn to look at him and it looks as if he is moving in slow motion. Anika recognizes the spell.
“Spell caster!” She cries out.
Anika cannot see where the spell originated from and starts running towards the lamp. With a blast of eldritch energy, she smashes it causing the room to fall into darkness. She makes a quick turn and dashes in a different direction from where she was heading. Not a moment too soon as an ear splitting concussive force erupts where she would have been. A nearby stone shatters into fragments. Anika calls to the others.
“I cannot see him; he must be behind one of the rocks on the far wall.”
Nyx Lifts her snout in the air and give a deep sniff. She locks onto an unfamiliar sent and charges in the direction where it orginated. Art pursues also, however still moving slowly. Dekkarian takes up watch against the door, carefully scanning for danger. She hears the sound of battle as Nyx reaches her target and the sound of daggers being flung from Art. Anika reaches her to replace her and Dekkarian races to assist Nyx and Art.
The Wizard, badly injured from the combined attack from the bear and the knife throwing tiefling, hears the armored form of another foe approaching. With an oath under his breath and a hand clutching at his torn side he dashes to the back of the room. There he pulls a hidden lever and a hidden passage way is revealed. Dashing down the corridor he can hear his foes in pursuit. Thinking it may kill maybe one or more and allow his escape he pulls another lever further in the tunnel causing it to collapse.
Nyx gasps as the dust clears. Her hefty bear bulk is trapped beneath the debris from the cave in. Dekkarian rushes over and holds aloft the pinning rubble. Nyx’s form ripples and constricts back into her regular gnome form. She darts out from beneath the rubble and thanks Dekkarian. Dekkarian nods, relieved that her little gnome companion is unharmed. She has lost too many friends before and does not wish to see another fall.
They rejoin Anika who has been in conversation with Baragustus.
“Apparently the wizard is named Larikh. He was instrumental in interpreting the stone’s meaning. However old ‘Gustus here was unaware of the secret entrance over there. You know, being a guard and all.”
Dekkarian nods and as she passes through one of the stone archways she notices the stones nearby begin to levitate. She points this out to Anika who pauses for a moment.
“Ah I see. This Larikh was manipulating the Bringers of Woe. He was slipping in while no one was inside and moving the stones around with the assistance of their levitating properties. Afterwards he would rejoin them and declare the prophecy. What I don’t understand is why he was manipulating them in the first place. The Delvers they so worship were just dwarven miners, most likely ones who died while excavating this place. Something is going on here that we don’t know about.”
Dekkarian looks at Baragustus.
“You worshiped a false idol. You allowed yourself to be manipulated and deceived. There is no divine prophecy, the Delvers are not the gods which you worship them for. They are naught but long forgotten rotting corpses in the dark.”
“No! You are wrong!” Baragustus exclaims, “They have predicted the future before and they will again. The Delvers shall guide us in their wisdom and show us the true path!”
The group follow the tunnel leading from the front of the complex and the group emerges out into Red Larch’s Wagon Works. After escorting a confused and mumbling Baragustus to his home the group reports their adventure to Constable Harburk. Agreeing that it is a serious matter in deed he sounds out several of his men to conduct investigations and make arrests. Harburk had not heard of the man named Larikh and knows no one of his description, although he had heard of some unsubstantiated rumors however could not investigate with no solid evidence.
Over the next week major changes are made in the town. The hole in the crossroads is covered over and repaired, ensuring to shore up the structure below to make sure there is no further collapse. The towns people themselves are shaken and make wild accusations about their neighbors who may have been acting suspiciously. Thankfully Harburk is able to keep all in hand without it becoming a witch hunt. However, several of the elders step down from their positions as leaders of the town and a new mayor must be elected. Many believe that Harburk should lead the town as mayor, being of sound reasoning, however others believe that his wife should lead as she is beloved by the town. Harburk puts a quick end to the debate however stating that he enjoys his current role as constable and believes that he can do more for the town as a man of the law.
New rumors emerge from the town. There is talk of bad omens, of the days being hotter than they should be. How the dark clouds on the horizon never seem to move or to break. That there are strange dust storms now ravaging the land. Many people are anxious and the feel of the town becomes muted from the normal.
Nyx gathers the group once more. She has received a note from her contact at the Emerald Enclave, Haeleeya the bath house woman. Apparently two ten days ago it was expected that a member of the Enclave would report to Haeleeya. They had not turned up. Upon speaking to Haeleeya it was revealed that one of the members was a moon elf named Terasyl who was carrying a pouch of magical seeds in order to grow a magical grove by the abbey in Golden Fields. Haeleeya received a correspondence from Brother Eardon, a worshiper of the God of the Dawn, who confirmed that the delegation was in Belained two ten days ago, however he became concerned when they did not show up at their destination of the Summit Hall.
The group prepares to move to investigate. Anika drops off a letter with Kayleesa with instructions to send it on. Kayleesa agrees to do this and lets Anika know that she has discovered more information. There have been reports of a madman at Riverguard Keep to the east. There have been rumors of figures flying in the sky upon winged beasts which have also been seen to the east, she points out both locations on the map. Anika thanks her for the information and returns to the group.
Anika reveals the new information to the group and it is decided that they shall first search for the delegation. While Anika is a bit put out about having to delay her search for the relic once more she concedes that she cannot search for it without their assistance and accepts the decision. However it is agreed that on the way back that they shall investigate the Keep upon their return. Nyx announces that she will inform Haeleeya that they are leaving.
As the group travels from Red Larch to the town of Belained via the road through the Sumber Hills they hear a screech from above. Two Perytons circle above. Suddenly one drops and attacks Anika. She gasps in pain as she is struck but lashes out a hand crackling with lightning and manages to escape. Dekkarian and Nyx set upon the downed foe with Flail and claw. Meanwhile Art casts his gaze upon the other Peryton and speaks in arcane casting his hand at it. The peryton falls from the sky, slamming into the ground, fast asleep. The group makes short work of the beasts and continue on their way.