Kingmaker

The Ancient Ruins

The crown wears heavy on the brow, and with rumors abound that one of our citizens was keen on acquiring ancient elven relics, I gladly cast aside the jewelry of rule for the tools of battle once again. The Harlot Lily performs a distasteful, if necessary role in our budding kingdom, and a ruined keep somewhere to our west should have what she is looking for. More importantly, another watchtower rebuilt could curb intruders from using the forests to move close to Gnarlgate without our knowledge.
We traveled uneventfully for a few days and discovered the ruins near to where we had heard they may lay. We found the ruins in a state that gave credence to their name; everything overgrown, mossy, old, the smell of decay hung about the place. A little used trail approached torn gates. We made a cold camp and Yuri went to scout the surroundings. A few hours later, Yuri returned to us, much worse for wear. He had been assaulted on his scouting trip and had been stabbed in the back…literally. While a dark part of me I try to ignore found it appropriate the knave received a dose of his own medicine, I called upon my divine gifts and healed him of his wounds and fatigue. Yuri had no knowledge as to the nature of his assailant and after much discussion we decided to search the keep itself.
An hole in the wall is all that is left of the gate of this keep. Yuri advances first, scouting the area out. I move forward into the gate when mad laughter followed by a crashing portcullis catches me unaware. My armor catches most of the gate, but I am pinned beneath it. Yuri dances to the side as a piece of the keep wall falls, narrowly avoiding him. I do envy his light feet, but someone must bear the burdens of armor to keep Inari safe from harm. Magnolia helps me lift the rusty portcullis, but the ancient hinges catch many times before we are able to move it high enough that I can push through to the other side. As Inari scrambles through after me, mad laughter again is heard and a small creature jumps on her back and attempts to stab her with a wicked needle. The creature misses, and she makes it through the gate unharmed. Magnolia follows, and we find ourselves in a very unwelcoming keep courtyard.
Yuri expresses his desire to leave…now. I try to reason with the rogue, tell him that a keep such as this cannot be left standing with unknown hostile occupants this close to our borders. He relents, eventually, and, moving ever so carefully, he approaches one of the tower doors. A few rats greet him as the door hinges screech in protest. Then the screeching becomes louder. There were more than just a few rats in the tower! Two huge swarms of the vermin pour from the tower keep, accosting Yuri and Magnolia both. The invisible invader returns and attempts to back stab Magnolia, but her armor holds. Then Inari is hit with his fiendish weapon, and she cries out that she feels poison running through her veins.
Yuri mentions something about seeing a haggard looking elf peering at us from another tower, but this information is lost to me as I wade into the swarms of rats. Sarenrae’s blessings keep the vermin from poisoning me. We are ill prepared to fight these swarms, as only Inari can truly do any damage to them with her spells and wands, and the poison is taking its toll upon her. The hateful little beast shows himself again, and Inari hexes him to sleep. He disappears! We continue to battle the rats and I work my way over to where the little beast vanished. Knowing him to be there still, I swing my sword at the spot I know his sleeping form resides in, but I am unable to hit his body. Eventually, Inari’s hex wears off, and our opportunity to make short work of the little wretch is wasted. Many more times we swing and miss until Magnolia connects a mighty blow, and the quickling vanishes yet again and retreats to be seen no more. Inari finally finishes the rats that have been plaguing us, and we regroup for a moment.
We attempted to track down the Quickling, and followed his tracks deeper into the ruins. We glanced into the central keep tower and saw beautiful but old elven paintings, tapestries, and frescoes upon the walls. A spiraling staircase led upwards into darkness and the unknown. We made our way to the far wall of the fort where the tracks disappeared. We were at a loss as to where the little blighter took off too, but admitted defeat. The tower where Yuri claims to have seen an elf is nearby, and we approach with caution. The tower was covered in groping vines and bleached skulls. I was doubtful as to any friendly creatures living here, but we proceeded. Knocking on the warped wood of the door and calling out in every language Inari and I knew garnered not the slightest reaction. Magnolia seemed determined to enter this side tower, but we all moved back to the central tower when no answer was heard.
Our group waited at the entrance while Yuri scouted the area. An old gas trap went off, but it didnt affect the rogue. He waited until the fumes dissipated, and moved toward the staircase. He called out that he saw a figure, but it moved back up the staircase when it saw him. I moved forward to assist him when the figure came toward us from the stairs. A beautiful elven maiden, even more so than Inari, danced toward us. A small part of me screamed that this was not natural, that something was amiss, but both Yuri and I stood transfixed as the maiden approached us. With malicious glee, the creature attacked Yuri and nearly killed him on the spot. But still I could not look away from the entrancing figure. Then she attacked me as well. My armor held, and her hold over me vanished. I fought the creature on the stairs, and called for the power of my goddess to aide me. I was half afraid my lust would disgust the Dawnflower, but she answered and divine might filled my being.
Only one of the fey could entrance us so thoroughly and completely and with this knowledge I pulled my cold iron longsword and shield. The fey and I battled fiercely over Yuri’s prone form. I called to Inari for aide, but she was attempting to help Magnolia who felt compelled to chase after another creature that attacked at the same moment as this fey. Poor Yuri, it will be be these women adventurers that will be his death yet again! I battled the fey up the stairs, and when she felt the fight ebbing against her, she retreated to her inner sanctum. With a brief prayer of thanks and another for strength, I followed. Inari had arrived, but was quickly fixated by the fey’s power, and was taken out of the fight as soon as she arrived. The sanctum was filled with plants which quickly animated to their mistress’s command. I felt myself ensnared but broke free of the vines and finished the battle. With her last breath, the fey attempted to curse me, but Sarenrae felt merciful this day and blocked the evil magic. It was later after reviving Yuri that I learned Magnolia had fought an undead in the side tower, which had been the creature Yuri mistook for an elf.
Much battered and bruised, we searched the rest of the keep with no peril to us. We found many relics for the Harlot Lily, and returned to Gnarlgate on the morn. These ruins shall be reclaimed from eons past and the wheat flag of Dorindraad shall fly from its towers!

Comments

Early in the morning we headed out to the elven ruins. Lily, a woman of a questionable profession, has offered a reward to anyone who brings her elven trinkets. It sounds like the perfect adventure for us! We headed southwest, arriving at the ruins around noon. It was amazing! It was circular in shape, with five towers growing from inside. Four outer towers rose from the keep. They were 25-30 feet tall. The ancient stone was moss covered and crumbling. There was a taller tower in the center surrounded by overgrown vines and shrubbery. This place felt dark to me. Yuri offered to scout the exterior area. He returned after a while, limping. He had also been backstabbed. He had no idea from what, since it moved so quickly. After some healing, we felt the need to explore further.

We approach the gate cautiously, unsure what evil awaits us. Yuri sneaks inside with no event. As soon as Boreas enters, a rusty portcullis falls upon him! He’s trapped! Mad laughter is heard from inside. This thing certainly must die. Before we can make a move, a block from above falls down upon Yuri. Thankfully he dodges it. Magnolia and I then hear a menacing voice behind us. I quickly throw glitterdust, but it reveals nothing. Magnolia uses all her strength, and lifts the gate enough for Boreas to escape. We quickly wedge a rock in place to keep it open. As I go under, something jumps upon my back! I feel the swish of a blade just missing me as he runs off. The thing was 1 ½ feet tall, maybe in a tuxedo with a dagger. It is so hard to see since he’s so fast! I wonder what this creature is? Yuri is not happy with our situation and wishes to leave. We convince him to stay, but he’s reluctant.

We walk to the first tower, where Yuri pushes a rotting door in. He enters, only to be attacked by a swarm of rats! Nasty, dirty, biting vermin! I use ear piercing scream, but it has little damage. Unfortunately, a second swarm comes from the back. Their squeaking and chittering makes my skin crawl. While Magnolia stands to fight, the quickling stabs at her but misses. To my horror, his blade finds me and I am poisoned and bleeding. Later I find out that while this was happening, Yuri sees an Elven figure looking at us from a tower. It’s bad enough that I am stabbed, but now I get bitten by the filthy rats. Boreas cures me, but I am still weak from all of the hits. I sleep the quickling, Rig, who becomes invisible as he falls asleep. I fear for my life and retreat to my webs I made earlier. I hate to leave my friends, but it’s the only way for me at the moment. My friends continue hitting at the rats, only to find Rig has awaken. He stabs Boreas, but is quickly hit by Magnolia. She hits again, but he fades and runs off. I heal and drag myself from the sticky webs. I finish off those who diseased me, and we regroup ourselves.

We attempted to follow Rig, but took a quick look into the center tower. It was gorgeous! The room was huge, covered with a vaulted ceiling. The walls were covered with paintings of elves, elves portrayed in hunts and feasts. Dances and wars. It was something to view. To the far end was a filigree staircase. It circled up the wall to a hidden room above. As much as we wanted to enter, we decided to stay of the trail of Rig. We followed his tracks, but then they just disappeared! They ended at a wall. Nothing looked disturbed for him to climb away. We had no clue how he had escaped! We then went to a door to our right. This tower was covered in vines, but also in bleached humanoid skulls. It was horrible to gaze upon. We knocked on the door, but was answered with silence. We decide to go back to the center tower.

Yuri. once again, is the perfect rogue, checking the room before entering. I am so happy he had hits wits about him! A strange mist filled the room, but had no effect on him. I am relieved he was not in it, for it surely would have driven him insane! Once it dissipates, Yuri enters. He first heads up the stairs. We can not see what’s happening, but later found out he was face to face with a beautiful nude Elven maiden, surrounded by flowers and greenery. He slowly backs down to the bottom. Boreas then goes to his friend. The Elven woman dances her way down the stairs. I do not view it for myself, but I see the faces of the boys become immediately entranced. What’s come over them both? Yuri gets hit and falls unconscious. Boreas gazes and drools. Magnolia and I are surprised by a grimstalker approaching us. Can things get any more complicated? Once again, we are split between two battles. I enter the room to try and sleep this Elven wench. Magnolia chases the grim back to it’s tower. She struggles with this fight, not only fighting the grim, but his assassin vine as well. Thankfully she kills them both posing no more threat to our band. Meanwhile, the Elf attacks Boreas, but misses. This wakes him from his trance, chasing her up the stairs. I quickly chase after him, hoping to be of some help. To my dismay, I fall under the same spell that engulfed him earlier. Boreas stays the course though, killing her at last. We find much loot, so much that some is impossible to take back with us. I do not care, for I am happy to leave this awful place very far behind me.

The Ancient Ruins
paladin238

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