The following morning the adventurers cleared a path through the Olman temple complex. There they faced a number of challenges, a trapped tomb, guardian mummies and gigantic caterpillars that had grow fat eating fish that got trapped in the rock pools below. On exiting the pass they fought hungry monstrous crabs, which in turn were turned into a meal for the hungry survivors. Valdis Aldranna had nearly killed Trantil and Shallasar in his attempt to free them from the crabs claws with a lightening bolt, Shallasar had managed to shield himself from the bolt, but Trantil had been badly burned.
Map by Robert Lazzaretti
After progressing about a dozen miles along the uneven, undulating coastal road they made camp on a wider section of the road, keeping close to the cliff wall for safety. That night a magical darkness fell on the camp blotting out the stars and the light from the fire. The watch sounded the alarm, as something or someone splashed onto the rocky coast below. “Two Feathers” managed to escape the darkness in time to see Valdis sleep walking to the edge of the cliff. As she went to throw herself off the shifter grabbed her only to realise it was an illusion. While the camp was clearly threatened, when the darkness was lifted no enemy could be found, although some supplies were missing, it appears they were responsible for the splash.
The next morning Shallasar and Dalrin were suspicious that one of the surviving passengers or crew was attempting to sabotage their journey south. Together they hatched a plan to scan each of the survivors for magic items that might help explain the previous nights events. A part form the items they were already familiar with Dalrin detected that Nurbir, Darthic, Lowarna and Hesse each carried magical items. While Hesse and Lowarna both had magical jewelry on clear show, Nurbir and Darthic’s items were hidden in their packs. Shallasar decided to steal borrow the items so they could examine them as soon as possible.
The group made good progress the following day along the coastal road. While technically a road, in parts it was no more than a narrow path, erosion over the centuries seeing much of it fall into the sea. It was far from level, at some points the road would drop down to sea level so they would be walking along a beach, at other times it would climb to over one hundred feet above the water.
Shortly after noon a wing of gargoyles ambushed the group. The gargoyles were perfectly camouflaged against the natural rock making them impossible for even Shallasar and “Two feathers” keen sense to pick them out. The gargoyles picked on the smallest first, sending the halfing cook Nurbir Hargirn tumbling off the path to his death on the rocks eighty feet below. Trantil charged forward executing his famed “Salmon Leap” over the head of Yurgur and striking down Nurbir’s killer. The heroes were able to prevent any more deaths among the passengers and even prevented the last gargoyle escaping across the bay. After Dalrin treated the wounded he flew down to the rocky shore to collect Nurbir’s body1. The group took time to build a small cairn for the well-liked ship’s cook, and several people came forward to say a few words, before they left him and continued along the road.
Tavey Nesk proceeded to copy his hero Trantil, making mock leaping attacks at imaginary foes as they moved along the path. With each leap he took progressively more risks until he slipped, luckily Valdis was able to catch his arm before he fell from the path, and even more luckily Trantil was able to grab Valdis before Tavey dragged him with him. They both had stern words with the boy and he took more care as they continue to march until dusk.
That night was uneventful but Shallasar did make use of his time on watch to examine the content of Darthic’s pack removing a hammer that appeared to be mastercrafted. In the morning the heroes on watch were greeted with the grim sight of Nurbir’s corpse lashed upside down to an X shaped cross in the middle of the road ahead, only a hundred feet or so away from where they made camp.
We the rest of the camp woke up it was clear that some of them were very distressed by how their companions body had been desecrated, Avner was wondering what Amella was going to do keep them safe. Amella said her duty to him ended when they got to dry land, and he shove his job where the sun doesn’t shine. Valdis took Avner to one side, and had a few choice words with him, reminding him of his duty as a noble to show leadership and bravery in times of trouble, while neither seemed likely to come from Avner, he at least stopped complaining for the rest of the day.
Around midday the path came to an abrupt end. Nearly sixty feet above, it continued along its southern route. A bamboo platform hung near the upper path’s edge, suspended by several vines draped over a log driven into the cliff face to form a primitive lift. Beneath this arrangement on a wide but rocky beach were about a dozen or so abandoned huts. The group cautiously tested the platform, with Dalrin and Tamzana both of whom were able to fly if the platform showed any sign of breaking. It was lucky they were so careful as when both were on the platform the cables started to snap, only by flying off the lift were they able to save it. Inspection of the cables showed they had been partly gnawed through in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the structure. Darthic a dwarven engineer said he would be able to repair it, only one of his prized tools had gone missing, Shallasar convinced him to check his pack again, just in case it had slipped to the bottom, and thank-fully it had2. With the lift repaired the group were able to raise Thunderstrike to the higher path, this proved the strength of the dwarves repairs to the others and the group continued once more. Camp that night was made on a sandy beach after the high path had descended to after several miles.
In the morning the campsite was surrounded by dead seabirds. Each was laid out on its back, its head point the camp, their wings spread out and there guts clawed open, there was one bird for each person in the group, twenty-three in all. The morning watch were able to clear these away before the rest of the group woke up but they made sure the other adventurers knew whatever it was that stalked them was still out there.
The morning brought more trouble with a rockslide catching a number of the group, thankfully most only suffered minor cuts and bruises, but Anson Woodman was nearly knocked off the ledge. Once the rockslide stopped it was clear that the rockslide had been started deliberately and among the rocks were perhaps twenty or more human skulls.
With the group so on end when the second gargoyle attack came most of the survivors quickly cowered by the cliff wall, giving room for the heroes to get to work. This time the attack was a larger group ten in all and in that number one particularly brutish looking one wearing a crown made of carved granite. The fight was long and bloody at one point it looked like Shallasar had been torn to shreds by the brutish ones vicious claws, but thankfully he survived.
At the end of the battle Trantil took perverse pleasure in decapitated the king gargoyles corpse and using it’s head as a makeshift toilet. He then mounted it on a spike. The other survivors looked at him in horror, Avner commented that he always knew that he would be the first to “turn native”; Urol corrected him pointing out that most of the natives were rather more civilised, and even Tavey looked disappointed in his hero.
They made camp not far from the site of the battle the fighting having exhausted them. The night past without event and even in the morning there was a surprising calm and no ghoulish gifts. Perhaps it had been the gargoyles stalking them all along or Trantil’s warning had scared those responsible away, or perhaps the creature or creatures were just toying with them.
Still the morning progressed with no trouble, other than Avner’s complaining about the condition of trail and the fact he had to carry his fair share of supplies. Shortly after midday the group came across a passage through the cliff leading inland, they were faced with the choice of following the coast or turning inland. Urol was certain the coastal road was safest if not the most direct, but Avner and Amella thought that the chance of another attack by gargoyles from across the bay wanting revenge was too high and they should head inland.
The adventurers were left to decide the best course of action…
1 While Dalrin’s deed of recovering the body appeared noble to all present, the truth was he was interested in what magic was in the cooks pack, in the end it turned out to be just some spices that aided in cooking, and would neutralise poison in food they were added to.
2 Perhaps because Shallasar had just slipped in back in there.