Ballyclare and the Tower of Storms
The party talks it over and comes to a consensus that the best choice of action it to get off the barge before entering Tor Ulthuan and travel by foot, even if it adds several days onto their journey. Close to midday the party spies a shallow location on the river clearly used to ford carts and use this as an area to disembark. Following the path south-west with two people pulling the cart and another pushing, the traveling goes slowly, but after a few hours they come to a crossroads indicating four directions:
Having come from the direction of Aelin-uial and knowing their intended destination lies further to the south, the party heads for Bundoran. Having set up camp and woken early the next morning the party hears a strange cry . Dyne is able to identify it as a large bull elk bugling to a mate and sets out to track the animal while the others remain with the cart. He is successfully able to track the creature and sneak up on it before throwing a rope over its neck and calming it.
An hour passes before Uthad and Niene become concerned. Its just about this time that Dyne comes riding over the hillside, astride a great and majestic elk. Tying the creature to the cart with a makeshift harness, they are able to greatly quicken their pace and make it to Bundoran much sooner than they had expected.
After investigating around town a little, the party discovered a few points of interest:
- The Queen’s Academy can be found in the capital city of Kaddastrei to the south.
- If the party takes the road south to Ballyclare there will be signs directing them on to the capital.
- The journey is going to take several days, but the village has a few horses they can buy to help speed their travel.
Dyne believes there is a chance he can tame the elk to use as a mount, but is concerned he might not succeed and then they would be without anything to pull the cart. The group decides they will purchase two horses to pull the cart and are able to talk the seller down from 75gp each to 58gp each.
The ride to Ballyclare is uneventful, though as they approach the town they see a great storm raging over it and much of the surrounding area. The storm appears to be stationary, but they are unable to discern anything out of the ordinary and continue on. Arriving in town near the end of the day, the party passes a group of militia recruits in a muddy field outside town. They attack one another with wild abandon, swinging wooden swords and shields. Watching them with dismay is a cloaked man on horseback. Near him, standing in a puddle by the road, is a dour dwarf smoking a pipe while rain pours off his wide·brimmed hat.
The storm continues to rage and has turned the roads into little more that troughs of mud, exhausting the horses once they get to town. As they make their way into the inn from the stables outside, they see a creature locked in a cage in the middle of town, afforded little to no protection from the storm. As they pass the figure they notice that while humanoid, he is clearly not human but instead half man, half goat. he meets Dyne’s gaze and much sorrow can be seen in his eyes.
Ordering dinner, the party inquires from one of the barmaids about the creature in the cage. She informs them its a “GoatFolk”, they normally stay away from town and are peaceful creatures, the town has even traded with them in the past, but recently a storm has come to town and rumors of attacks by the creature have circulated so when they found this one snooping around one of the farms outside town they took him prisoner for fear he might be scouting out for an attack.
The party goes outside to speak with the creature. He seems hesitant at first, but when Niene eases his discomfort with a cantrip he quickly warms to them. He explains that he is an Ibixian and comes from the mountains away from town. He returned to his village only to find it deserted. Searching for his people he came to town to investigate if they had come to seek shelter from the humans, but while scouting the town to see if there was any danger is was captured by a farmhand. Not wanting to injure anyone he surrendered without a fight and was thrown in the cage they find him in now, being blamed for the storm that has raged over the town for close to a week.
The party returned to the inn and waited for the head of the militia to return. Buying him a drink, the party learns the details of what has happened in town. Some time ago a party of dwarven stonemasons was escorted to the ruins of an old tower some ways outside town. Their intention was to rebuild a watch tower built sometime ago by adventurers to keep an eye over the land surrounding the village of Ballyclare. It was destroyed generations ago, and with recent issues from creatures in the bog to the south, hills to the west, and woods to the north, the town decided it would be prudent to rebuild it. Some time later Faringray was recalled to town to train militia troops, so he left the dwarves safety in the hands of his men and returned. Shortly after he got back a massive storm rolled up and after several days one of the stone masons stumbled into town and told a story of how the guards were overrun by a group of goatfolk. His hands bound with training new troops, Faringray is unable to go himself to investigate, so he asks the party if they would be willing to investigate what has happened. Indicating he finds it hard to believe the goatfolk would attack the village, and that the prisoner outside wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight against skilled adventurers, he authorizes the prisoner’s release into the party’s custody should they wish it.
Setting out in the morning the party travels west though the rain and fog until they reach the tower. Milling about the ruins they see a group of ibixians , and using a spell designed to harm the undead and do nothing to the living, they quickly discover they are zombies.
After dispatching the group and investigating the ruins, they hear barking noise coming from a hole in the ruined tower floor. Identifying the voices as those belonging to Gnolls, Bawdewyn informs the party of a long standing feud between his people and the gnolls and how most likely the gnolls want to wipe out the human village just for the pleasure of destruction. As they descend into the ruins lightening strikes the top of the tower ruins, dislodging a tube that contained a magic wand and flag.
Moving into the ruins the group dispatches more undead ibixians and some gnolls, in the process freeing the dwarven stonemasons who are being held prisoner. Continuing on the party avoids several traps and dispatches another group of gnolls before coming to a large room with a bubbling cauldron surrounded by painted goblin skulls. Remembering the colors of the flag, the party throws in the correct combination of colored skulls and is unable to unlock the massive door leading into the final room.
When the doors fold out of the way they are greeted by a group of living and undead gnolls, undead ibixians, and a gnoll warlock. After a lengthy fight the party ends the warlocks attempt to desecrate the grave of a fallen warrior in an attempt to raise an undead army to attack the town.
Once the warlock has been defeated they party feels a wave of energy wash over them, as if some entity were pleased by their success. On the way out they discover a chest in the middle of the cauldron that had been in the previous room, now drained of the foul chemicals that once bubbled within.
When the party climbs out of the ruins, they find that the storm has cleared and the sun is shining clearly. Before heading back to town, Bawdewyn requests the party’s assistance in burying those of his people that were resurrected as undead. He remarks that while they fought several of his people, there should have been many more. He asks the party if they would be willing to allow him to travel with them in the hopes he might find out something about his people and what has become of them.
Returning to town, Faringray thanks them and pays them a reward. Additionally in the safety of their inn they are able to open the chest and recover the rewards inside.