Journey to Rastor
This is the eighth chapter in the enthralling tale of great heroism and mighty deeds told ever so eloquently by the master scribe and grand scholar, Belkas Silverquill the learned.
On their return Hommlet, our heroes make their way back to the Welcome Wench Inn. As they make their way through town, Gol’kosh can feel the eyes of the towns people upon him. It is a feeling he is used to – suspicion, fear and from time to time hate. The difference being is these sensations were not present when he was last in town. So, what has changed in our heroes absence?
Later in the day, Elmo meets up with our heroes at the tavern. On greeting them and welcoming them back, he then informs the group that he has sad news. The bodies of the miller and his wife have been found. Some lads from town were fishing down river when they pulled the bodies from the river. When Elmo came to examine the bodies, he was able to determine that the miller was killed by a blow to the head with a great axe, and his wife shot in the back by a crossbow. Elmo continues to talk about the death of the miller and his wife, but after a while the group become aware that he has been asking more questions about their activities in town, rather than what they discovered in Nulb. Elmo apologises for this, but explains that there has been rumours around town that the miller was killed by a half orc. He flicks a nervous glance in Gol’koshs direction. Satisfied that our heroes have no involvement in the deaths, the conversation moves on to the happenings in Nulb. Elmo is not surprised to learn that the rumours of Lareths resurrection were true. Our heroes lay out all they have learnt and discuss their options. They decide to follow the trail from the moathouse ruins to the Temple of All-Consumption which they suspect can be found somewhere in the vicinity of Rastor. This decided, they spend the rest of the day in preparation for the journey. The next morning, the group sets off for the capital, Verbobonc.
After several days of uneventful travel, our group reach their destination of Verbobonc. As they enter the city, Silas expresses an interest in trying to sell many of the items the group have acquired during their adventuring. Without any stronger leads to follow, the group agrees. Moving further into the city, Silas spots a couple of stores that suit his needs. As they enter the store, the overhear a conversation between a group of people passing by “…can really play a lute, but that bard has the worst singing voice I have ever heard in my life.” The group look at each other in disbelief… surely it could not be him!
As Silas goes from store to store striking deals, Gol’kosh finds himself talking to another half orc who introduces himself as Krull. Although the conversation was far from lively, Gol’kosh did learn the name of a female half orc named Zolda working the docks who knew about Rastor.
Once Silas had finished his wheeling and dealing, the group made their way down to the docks where they easily found Zolda. Although somewhat brusque, she knew much of the small town. But her information was of a general nature only, with the group learning nothing that would rouse their suspicions that a cult was operating in the area. She described the town as being a run down collection of mud huts at the end of the trail. An orc tribe lived nearby, but there was little trouble between the towns folk and the Orcs. The town residents were mostly human, orc, half orc and dwarves. There were no temples in the town. A large crater was located some distance to the south of town and used to be home to the dwarves, who mined and worked ore from the crater. But the dwarves were driven from their home some time ago. Tal Chammish was known to her as a local jack of all trades who lived in the town. With little more to go on, the group continued their journey to Rastor, arriving there several days later.
The road to Rastor had been deteriorating greatly over the last couple of days of the journey, becoming little more than a muddy track by the time it reached the town. On the outskirts of town, the group came across a scruffy male working the fields. Stopping to talk to him, he eagerly introduces himself as Tal Chammish. He boasts that he can get for them anything they want for the right price. As they question him further, it becomes obvious that he is little more than poor, unskilled man trying to make a living anyway he can. However ,the group did learn that a green dragon may have taken up residence in the crater to the south, but hadn’t been seen for a few months. They also learned that there was no governing body or city watch as such. The business owners in town made decisions from time to time as need be, and if there was any trouble in town… well, there was always Jor’deth, a local half orc with a knack of sorting out problems!
Our heroes continue on into town and make their way to the inn, which wasn’t difficult to find in the small town. Entering the inn, the group are surprised to see a group of orcs at a table, drinking. They pay the group no heed as they take their place at another table. The inn keeper soon approaches and takes orders for food and drinks.
Later into the evening, a jovial looking male enters the tavern and walks over to the orcs. He leans close to the group and says something, which is greeted by a roar of laughter from the orcs. He catches sight of our heroes seated at their table, and with a last word to the orcs, and a slap to the back of the nearest one, he wanders over and begins talking to the group. In a cheerful voice, he tells them that he had heard of strangers being in town. He begins asking them questions such as where they have come from, and why they have come to Rastor. Paradox feels uneasy around the man – as a stranger he is asking too many questions. Gol’kosh grows bored with the man and tells him they are here to destroy the evil temple. The man stutters for a minute before appearing bewildered, asking “What evil temple? There is no evil temple here!” Gol’kosh snorts derisively at the man and says “We will see!”, then turns and ignores any further attempts by him to ask further questions. With a shrug, he wanders away to talk to other who have since entered the tavern.
The next morning, the group head off early in the direction of the crater. There are no roads or tracks between Rastor and the crater, so the group have to make their way across some rough country in the general direction of the crater. By mid day, they can see the crater, and a rough track leading in the direction of the crater. It takes our heroes a frustratingly long time to make their way down to the track due to the rough terrain, but once they reach the track the going is much easier. They see evidence of wagons, horses and foot traffic in both directions on the track. They follow the track to the edge of the crater, where it then began winding its way up the cliff like side of the crater for about 300 feet. Climbing the track, they find that it leads to a large alcove about 20 feet across, set into the side of the cliff. The floor is smooth and level, and there are two iron bound wooden doors about 15 foot tall and 8 feet wide each, at the far side of the alcove. As they approach the door, Paradox spies numerous narrow slots along both side walls – arrow slots! He points them out to the rest of the group, who decide to continue.
Gol’kosh thumps loudly on the doors, demanding the door be opened, but there is no response. He attempts to force the doors to no avail.
Paradox’s giant ape and bear move forward and push on the door. There is the sound of splintering wood as the doors slowly open. The group pass through the opening into a vast chamber which is wide and long. The walls are covered in paintings depicting demons, human sacrifices and slaughter, humans being tortured and tormented by all form of elementals… fire, water, air and earth.
“I think we are in the right place” Arnisil whispers.
Doors at the far end of the chamber have mosaics set in the floor in front of them depicting each of the elements.
A group of gnolls step out from the shadows and attack. The group quickly set up a formation to drive them back and slay them. As they are getting the upper hand, a group of humans and animated undead led by a troglodyte cleric attack from a side corridor. The battle is long and draining on our heroes, with many of them taking serious wounds. But they are victorious. As the last beast falls, the sound of movement from the side corridor reaches them – more foes are coming! Should our heroes try to retreat and regain their strength? Will they have time to fall back before being set upon? How many enemy approach? Do our heroes have the strength to endure another brutal battle? Have they made a mistake in entering this place so boldly? Our heroes must decide upon their next course of action quickly, and hope they have made the correct choice… or die in this evil place!