The Rising Mountains

And so we begin...

The characters start journeying towards small logging camp, the last bastion of civilization before the mountains. They have been traveling for days at this point, and have started to get to know each other.

As the party journeys along the path, they encounter their first real obstacle: the river has washed out the road, leaving them stuck either crossing the river, or trying to force their way through the brush on the eastern bank. After some discussion (well, bickering), they decide to cross the river. Edris has his eagle, Waylon, fly across the river with a rope. Mithralyn changes into a bear and quickly crosses the river as well, then ties the rope to a tree. Edris nimbly crosses the rope, while Bjorn carefully pulls himself along, nearly slipping into the water at one point (and, unfortunately, getting his robes wet). Haepha, on the other hand, forgoes the rope and forces her way through the brush until she finds a shallower spot upstream. She manages to ford the river, but complains about the cold and the fact that her desert silks are getting wet.

As the rest of the group moves to catch up to their favorite barbarian, she runs into a little bit of trouble. She is ambushed by goblins, and while trying to avoid their attack, narrowly avoids a trap that was left along the path. Mithralyn, Edris, and Haepha quickly spring to counter-attack the goblins, with Mith and Edris dispatching some. Haepha, however, attempts to pick up the antler-covered log from the trap that she triggered (it was set to swing down across the path and hit someone) and discovers that the antlers have also been coated in some sort of poison. She begins to feel woozy.

Around this time Bjorn catches up with them, and, using his knowledge of Goblins (gleaned mostly from them often being servants in his homeland) he attempts to parley with the ambushers. Nervous about the obvious might of the party, the Goblins say that they will cease their attack and let the adventurers depart in peace, if the party will cross back over to the other side of the river and leave the newly-settled goblin tribe alone.

Bjorn, unfortunately, turns down the opportunity to resolve the situation peacefully.

…“but that river is COLD!”

The fight continues, with Bjorn taking several arrows to the torso. However, Mith, Edris, and Haepha are able to drive the Goblins away. Bjorn drinks his healing potion, the last of the “holy liquor” that he brought with him from his homeland.

The adventurers press on, wanting to get away from the site of the ambush quickly. As dusk nears, they find a decent sized cave in the hills nearby. Setting a watch and patching their wounds, they swiftly settle in to camp.

They are awoken in the early hours of the morning, however, by a strange scratching noise, and then the shifting of rocks in the back of the cave. They quickly move back in to the cave, and discover that a desiccated, withered arm has thrust its way through a hole in the rock, and is beginning to shove loose stones out of the way, as something is trying to push its way in to the chamber. Haepha quickly grabs the arm (noting that it is very cold to the touch) and proceeds to use it to pull the body on the other side against the rocks several times, and finally breaking the rock wall and pulling it in to the chamber. The creature appears to be a dried-out, almost mummified corpse, that seems to almost radiate cold. And, until Haepha crushed it against the rock, it was moving.

Looking into the opening the creature came from, they see that it is a narrow passage, possibly partially opened up by one of the earthquakes that sometimes move through the region. Also, they can see scratches, as if from fingernails, around the edges of the opening. It looks like this creature has been at this for a while, possibly months or years. Curious about this strange apparition, they decide to investigate further. Edris sends Waylon to hunt, and then the party descends in to the darkness at the back of the cave.

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