2/19/11 – “Welcome to Mardeth…”
After creating a vine horror from chemicals given to the adventurers by a member of the Shadow Thieves guild, the party was reduced by one as Berowyn was whisked away by the ankles from one of the vine horrors’ long writhing tentacles. The monster carried both Berowyn and Captain Thorley of the Mardeth Guard through the forest in a rage, as Rockwell and Levandius chased after it. After several attempts to catch up to the monster, Rockwell decided to take some of the plant attraction chemical that he had obtained from the Shadow Thieves guild member, and pour it on the ground in front of a tree. Rockwell and Levandius then scampered up a nearby tree in hopes of luring the monster into their trap. The plan worked as the vine horror caught wind of the chemical and turned from it’s path and headed back towards Rockwell and Levandius. The party was able to surprise the monster and Berowyn escaped its’ grasp. Captain Thorley cried for help and was somewhat assisted, but mostly ignored for the duration of the battle as the party wasn’t necessarily on speaking terms with the Captain. Eventually, after a streak of successful blows to the vine horror, it went into a maddening rage and attempted to dislodge the earth from underneath the feet of the party. It was during this time that Captain Thorley was taken, or better yet “consumed” by the vine horror as the party looked on. The vine horror’s attempt at a final assault on the party, would ultimately spell the creatures’ doom as it consequently opened up a large sink hole underneath it and fell into the blackness. Upon searching the remains of the dead vines on the ground, Levandius uncovered Captain Thorley’s shield which was covered by what appeared to be the living remains of the vine horror. These vines created a writhing but protective barrier to the shield giving it unique magical properties. Levandius gave the shield to Rockwell for future use. Levandius also uncovered a small key that was dropped by Captain Thorley during the battle. The symbol on the key was familiar to Levandius for he had seen it above the library in Mardeth.
The party decided to return to Mardeth at Levandius’ request so that he could continue his searching for information regarding the location of the kobold encampment. However, before returning to Mardeth, the party decided to disguise themselves as guards of Mardeth using the clothing from the slain guards they encountered on the Trade Road within the Woods of Alaren. Donning their new uniform, the adventurers rode into Mardeth and witnessed many women and children running at the sight of them dressed as the feared town guards. Berowyn managed to extract some directions from one of the local townspeople and found a tavern in town called The Staggering Peasant. Upon inspection of the tavern, they discovered it was deserted save for a slumped over barkeep. Levandius and Rockwell tried many methods of waking the barkeep from his loud snoring slumber but all methods proved to be in vain. Rockwell was able to deduce from the odor of one of the wine bottles that the barkeep had been drugged. Berowyn searched around the tavern for any traces of someone that could’ve drugged the barkeep, and found traces of dust/pebbles that didn’t look to be native to the tavern itself. The party decided to leave the tavern and head towards the library of Mardeth.
Upon arriving at the library, Levandius recognized the symbol above the door as the same symbol that was seen on the key he found in the Woods of Alaren amongst the remains of the vine horror. The adventurers entered the library and eventually found that by moving the two bookcases, a secret passage was uncovered opening up a door with a spiral staircase leading downward. Levandius had never been to this part of the library before, and was hopeful that he might uncover some ancient tomes giving him information as to the whereabouts of the kobold encampment. Berowyn, Rockwell, and Levandius descended down the spiral staircase and into a musty room that had a large arcane symbol on the floor, along with two bookcases, and a pedestal at the rear of the room that held an ancient book that had not been used in some time from it’s dusty appearance. The party also noticed that in the middle of the arcane symbol, was a painted red hand that was curved in a mangled position. Also on the ground were two skeletal corpses lying next to the arcane symbol. Levandius approached cautiously and elected to walk around the arcane symbol, but as he did, the corpses re-animated…seeming to draw power from the symbol itself. The corpses were not the only evil in the room though as two additional corpse lords entered from behind the bookcases. After Berowyn and Levandius made quick work of the re-animated corpses, Levandius decided to attempt to light the two bookcases on fire with the idea of sandwiching one of the corpse lords in between them. Although the fight ended in favor of the party, the flames consumed the bookcases and consequently burned all books as well. Taking this disappointment in stride, Levandius went straight to the pedestal at the back of the room and grabbed the ancient tome that rested upon it. Upon inspection of the tome, Levandius noticed the same red mangled hand on the front of the book, but was unable to decipher any of the strange arcane symbols on the old pages.