The Wraithlight Chronicles
#1: The Dying Fields
The characters investigate why the fields around Garrod’s Vale are dying.
November 13, 2010 18:00
After having adventured for several weeks together, this unlikely band of five adventurers have earned some degree of trust for one another. Having done small tasks for the village of Garrod’s Vale, they decided to further investigate what was going on with the poor crops. It was assumed that the low yield was due to the persistent, unnatural rains, but patches of wheat suddenly dying overnight was troubling. Plus, some of the farmers reported seeing lights near the old barrow mounds nearby. Clearly, they were related.
A’shale arranged a meeting with some of the farmers, passing coin along to some of their sons. After all, these were poor farmer folk, and even a few coppers each was enough to bring them out to talk to the strangers. The farmers confided in the Beastman about the patches of wheat that were simply turning dead overnight, as well as the haunting lights that were appearing above one of the closer barrow mounds.
Mordrek and Rhohasn chose to investigate the various shrines in town, two of which were barely maintained, and the other two had fallen into a dilapidated state. The two ‘functional’ shrines, one to Mehra and one to Ganaon, stood near each other in the village square, with the Shrine to Mehra looking significantly run down; trash was strewn about, with vines overgrowing the small stone building. Inside, the grimpriest was nowhere to be found; checking out back, they found him tending a cooking fire and drowning his sorrows away in a jug of rotgut. After a brief “conversation,” they convinced the drunk grimpriest to accompany them to the barrows when the lights are supposedly to appear.
En route to the barrows, the mostly drunk grimpriest was given the name “Mudbog” by A’shale when he was thrown into a muddy puddle in an attempt to sober him up. The party, plus Mudbog, met up with the farmers by the barrow. There, local customs were learned, regarding how the old ways involved interring the dead in the barrows, whereas the current custom (out of necessity) is to cremate the dead. Since this has happened, and since the laxity of the grimpriest, the haunting lights have appeared.
While this discussion took place, it was noticed that a goblin darted up and out of the crypt beneath the barrow, likely carrying some manner of grave goods. Rather than risk the lives of the farmers, the party sent them back to the village. It became quickly apparent that the party was surrounded by the dirty buggers, and a fierce battle ensued. In the end, the goblins were defeated, and a hobgoblin amongst them captured and interrogated as to why they were stealing from the barrows. Apparently, the goblin traditions of proving cunning and strength were being tested, as the goblins were stealing valuables to trade in exchange for a local nobleman not taking women from their concentration village.
Inside the Barrow
The group decided to investigate precisely what the goblins had been doing, as no lights had appeared yet. After a brief investigation, they found that the goblins had stolen practically everything of value from the antechamber, up to a deeper hallway. Quickly it was determined that a ceiling spike trap in that hallway, triggered by a floor plate, separated the antechamber from the greater burial hall. Jumping over the spikes, the most of the party entered the great hall. The party discovered a great framed painting of Mehra in the rear of the room, seemingly out of place amidst the dusty sarcophagi.
As they were about to leave, one of the party got caught in the spike trap. As blood touched the spikes, they came alive, burning with radiant energy; those who were trained in recognizing divine energies could hear, whispered by the dead, “Blood!” The remains of those dead long before the coming of the Undershadow sprung to life, demanding blood. In a dangerous clash, and nearly lethal for Rodminden, the party remained victorious.