Starday, 15 Lamashan 2711 (15 October 2011)
Journal Of Lostara Rufano
Present: Lostara, Nix, Urta and now Stuggs the gardener
The dramatic events of a few weeks’ past, including the rescue of the priest Arael from the clutches of the Asmodean Hell Knights, are being discussed at length here in the City, It seems as if the people are beginning to realize that the Order of the Rack is not invincible! Some of us in the Society, myself and Nix, along with Yakopulio, are helping to spread this story.#
But we are not all idle during this time. In looking for ways to increase our organisation’s fame and fortune, we# have discovered a nest of Goblins in the city’s far northern ruined sector. This band is led by a notorious chieftain called ‘Whitechin’ – we believe that his destruction will be of benefit to our Society as well as the city as a whole.
Also, the gardener Stuggs has quite a few ideas about the shadow beasts said to patrol and curse our city after dark. He subscribes to the theory that they were brought here by the house of Thrune, or its agents, to subdue our city and insure the ascendancy of their new Cheliax capital. He encourages us to patrol the nighttime streets in the hope of capturing one, or at least killing one and taking a prize of some sort. There is a noble woman, he says, called “Blue Hood”, who will pay good crowns for evidence of these creatures. Well, we shall see.
As for the goblin chieftain, we set out on a drizzly morning for the north walls. To allay suspicions, we are disguised as laborers (a simple costume, that’s for sure) and the gardener Stuggs as our foreman. Our arms and armour are concealed in bundles, ostensibly our laborer’s tools. We cross several districts and pass under the eye of a number of patrols, but attract no unwelcome attention. In future it might be wise to travel in two groups, so as to minimise the risk of the whole party being compromised or captured.
At the northernmost gate, we inspect the heavy barred gate. This gate has been chained shut so long the chains have rusted into immobility. Before we can inspect too long, however, the guards take interest and we make our way out of the gate square and off along the wall to the west. We are looking for an unobtrusive way over – and find not one, but two such, in a short while. The first, is a building set against the wall, and whose roof is right at the level of the wall, making for an easy climb up. The second, looks to be a smuggler’s tunnel between two buildings that appear to be sagging into each other. This tunnel, though narrow, has seen extensive use judging by the tracks and we choose this route into the ‘Dead Sector’.
We set forth at first light, and we quickly discover a collapsed building which the priest Urta identifies at once as a nest of the undead#. These could be more of the animated skeletons, that we saw in the sewer tunnels… We make our way from this cursed spot, not without some argument from Urta who wants to destroy these horrors immediately. The location is carefully noted, as we do plan to return soon.
Later, in what we think was a tavern of some sort, and while eating our lunches, we found some unbroken pottery jars. In examining them, one is dropped and in dropping, breaks the rotten shelf they were sitting on… All are smashed at once, and in one of them there was hiding a small, red, winged devil or imp of unfamiliar aspect. We shoot at it but to no avail, it flies away at great speed through a hole in the roof. Let us hope we do not see its like again#.
And so it is near dusk, when we are wearily returning to the northern wall and our smuggler’s tunnel, that we are ambushed among the ruins. We are ambushed by creatures, huge spiders, each the size of a large dog, with eight red eyes and dripping, poisonous fangs. Before these monstrosities are beaten down, we are sorely beset and even poisoned with a debilitating venom. All acquit themselves well in this fight, though it is noticed that at one point Urta is fighting a spider by himself when all the rest of us are fighting the other one… The outcome of this can not be in doubt, but Urta was able to be healed from his venomous wounds.
Before dispatching the horrid arachnids we were observed by a patrol of five sewer-Goblins. I threw incendiaries at them and induced them to retreat# – and we followed closely. We followed them right up to Whitechin’s little fortress, where we settled in for a night and a day of observation. Also this time was useful for recovering from the spider venom.
The actual attack on the goblin camp went fairly well, none of us were killed in the assault# which is more than can be said of the goblins. They were slaughtered each and every little green one. Even Whitechin ended up with his head on a pike, the better to show the citizens that there is a new power in town.
Close inspection of the goblin camp revealed nothing useful among the rubbish – but we did rescue a young Human woman otherwise destined for the stew-pot. The daughter of an itinerant Asmodean preacher, Miss Charity was returned to her family in good order, none the worse for her ordeal.
Buoyed with success, our group took to the midnight streets a few days later, to follow Stuggs’ plan of attracting a night creature. Indeed, his plan was a success as within a few hours, an amorphous creature loosely resembling a cross between a large snake and an insect made to attack us from ambush!
It had black oily skin, three claws, and parts of its very flesh blended seamlessly into the shadows. Its constantly moving, writhing form made it difficult to identify from a distance. But it charged right at us, and was met by the dwarf bard Nixtlix holding his “Ur-Grosh” a weapon peculiar to his race, who then smote the beast so heavily#, that it passed out of existence right there on the spot.
The dead thing measured over an arm-span and a half long and weighed approximately 90 pounds, it being strangely light, composed of a spongy dark matter and seemingly wisps of shadow itself. We took enough of it to make identification possible to “Blue Hood”, thus making certain of our payment. Stuggs was quite correct and the crowns were paid over. The “Night Gardener” saw to it that we each got our share – 25 crowns each.
Upon our return to the “Safe House” we find Janiven, Larko and the taciturn Mathalen there as well. Having carefully scouted the area around the Bastards of Erebus’ bandit lair, they returned and began construction of a clever model, showing the various buildings and especially including a steeple in the main structure. It seems that the Bastards have appropriated an old church for their use as well… Theirs was once sacred to Erastil, an ancient deity of the hunt and of the farm, whose clergy worked through example and good deeds rather than flowery rhetoric. We see how such a gentle religion can not prevail in modern Cheliax, and their very church now occupied by a band of tiefling brigands.
It shall be up to us to put and end to this, as we can see the Hell Knights have no interest in stopping banditry and brigandage, and the city Dottari haven’t the means…