An Unfair Consequence
Point of View – Josephus Sunspite
Ceremony of the Gnolls
That afternoon we went with Jellybean to Old Torrytop and he made sure we had good seats for the religious ceremony to follow. I’m quite interested in watching the Gnoll ritual as the creatures are enigmatic and their Demon Gods seemingly unfathomable.
The priest conducting the event was spectacularly decked out in fineries as was a young warrior who seemed to be the military leader of the congregation. Overnight at least a hundred Gnolls, many women gravid with child, arrived and joined us in watching events. They seemed to pay us little mind and we were not bothered during the entire ceremony.
It seemed to be some sort of fertility right and later Jellybean agreed saying that the creatures are obsessed with the process of procreation and it plays an important role in almost all of their religious rituals.
It took me a while to figure out the nature of the ceremony but eventually realized they were beseeching a warrior god named Arioch the Tamer of the Flame. The ritual had a decidedly military caste to it and invectives against Tanelorn seemed to be quite normal. I noticed the young warrior seemed particularly filled with venom when it came to the subject of the Gray Lord and his demesne. I fear this bodes ill if the young fellow ever gains a position of prominence in the Kingdom of Grelm.
After the ceremony Jellybean came back and we had another evening of discussion. The merchant said he planned to check out a nearby ruin but after watching the ceremony and speaking with the chieftain and high priest he wanted to return to Felhelm and report his findings. He asked if we might look into the ruin and report back to him should our paths ever cross again and we readily agreed.
The Nearby Caves
The iron merchant gave us good directions to the cave and we found them in short order. Little Rambledon led the way into the dark passage and we soon found ourselves in a large cave with a stone statue of a Gnoll holding a long sword with an eight headed arrow symbol emblazoned on it. Later the young Gnoll boy translated it for us.
Further up the passage we came into a bat filled room where a disgusting Gnoll began to bombard us with guano and his pets joined in on the attack.
We managed to fight him off without too much trouble although he did unleash a terrible blow that knocked poor Rhia clean off her feet. I managed to get her some healing and we won the battle soon enough. I suspect several of us contracted diseases from the bat bites but spent some time using my healing skills to aid those potentially afflicted. With Davim’s blessing none of us will become seriously ill.
In the room we found literature indicating the poor wretch was none other than the first adopted son of that vile Trucify. The poor wretch was given away as a babe and his mind poisoned so that his entire life destroyed. It is not in my heart to forgive this sort of cruelty and each passing moment makes it clearer to me that Davim will eventually turn His light of Righteousness on the filth that is Trucify.
Down another corridor we came across a fearsome fire beast that spawned more of its ilk with every move it made. We tried to surround and destroy it but it suddenly flared up and ran through us all knocking most of the party asunder although my stout legs prevented such an effect on my person.
Next Rambledon led us into a large cave where one of the ancient stone circles awaited us. It was in poor condition apparently intentionally destroyed with most of the rocks in a terrible state. The center stone, usually the magical focus of such places, was missing entirely, apparently hacked out from its embedded spot in the stone floor.
That last section of the cave was occupied by a massive boar and its piglets so naturally we killed them all and found nothing of interest.
A Boastful Boy
After some consideration we decided to head back to Tanelorn City to report our findings to Captain Massasa but before we had traveled far a young Gnoll boy intercepted us. He was carrying some sacrificial items and told us about a large stone nearby. We followed him and found what certainly must have been the central stone from the magical circle in the cave.
The boy read us the inscription on the stone which indicated that some hero Demon of ancient times once helped the Gnolls flee from the vengeful Usurper. The Gnolls seem to subscribe to the idea that Humans will once again try to destroy all the humanoid races and I can’t say that I’m completely unsympathetic with their cause. My own people tell such stories and the commonality of their points is telling to some degree.
The boy was quite boastful about his warrior prowess although he is not yet of the age of twelve. He told us there was a Temple of Demogorgon a few days travel north into Gnoll territory but that has long since fallen into disuse. Apparently after the great Demon was imprisoned by the Usurper he could no longer give magical boons to his devotees and his worship is now all but forgotten.
I think all of us thought it a good idea to find out more about this strange Demon and the Gnolls in general.