Thrice The Brinded Cat

Back to the Hold

Earthday Reapingday 2, CY 593 

After 18 days doing various things the group met at Ghelves Locks in the morning. The day was colder than usual and it was raining. The group prepared itself for some exploring and headed down to Jzadirune. Once in the city Kenric used their new Wand of Secret doors to search the areas the group had already been through. During his search he found two secret doors in the treasure room. Behind the first secret door he found three iron-bound chests. The first chest was trapped and Gerran attempted to disarm and unlock it. Once successful he opened it to find it was empty.

Kenric used the wand to search for any secret compartments in the chest and found none. Gerran opened the second chest and it too was empty. The third chest was trapped, and once again, after disarming it and unlocking the chest it too was empty.

The group then headed to the next secret room. Inside Gerran found a full suit of gnomish plate armor and a chest. As soon as Gerran stepped into the room the armor came to life. The armor was defeated but Braeden was seriously hurt. While Braeden healed himself, Gerran inspected the armor. Using detect magic Gerran discovered the armor was not magical but something in the chest was.

Kenric cast Detect Magic and found that the locks were magical. It was then we discovered the locks were not really trapped but made to appear they were. Gerran opened the new chest and discovered it was empty but he knew something was inside because he had detected magic. So he reached in and felt a statue. He grasped the statue and removed it from the chest. Once outside of the chest the statue appeared. Inside the chest were three statues made of smoky quartz. They depicted woodland shrews in various poses. Also inside was a mother of pearl dragon chess set and a silk pouch.

Once we had finished searching for secret doors we examined the false walls pointed out by Sir Alec Tercival. The walls were not movable and there was no quick way to get though them.

So we headed down to the Malachite Hold to see what we could find and to check on Yathaub. We took the lift down to the hold and spoke to Terefax, the fortresses’ elemental guardian. He informed the group that Yathaub and his minions had been clearing the area and had moved the automatons to face the gateway leading into the Underdark. I also learned the shrine to Moradin had originally been located in the forge and the forge was located east of the main hall.

With that we headed to the main hall and began opening doors to further learn the secrets of the Hold. In the first room we found a bed and an iron cage with a dead fire beetle in it. Just then a door swung open and our friend Yathaub came in to greet us. We informed him we were there to help secure his realm. Yathaub was delighted and he and his four dark creepers minions joined us in our exploring.

Soon we were walking through the Hold opening doors. In the next room we found four rows of iron wrought beds, enough for thirty-two dwarves. And from the ceiling hung two cages for the fire beetles. Listens to Windasked Yathaub what he had been feeding the fire beetles that were still alive. Yathaub indicated they ate vermin, fungus, pretty much anything they found that was possibly edible.

The next door led to a monstrous room. A twenty foot wide forge was on the east wall. On either side of the forge were two dwarven statues holding metal working tools. There were also two gray stone anvils in the room and masterwork metal smithy tools (+2 bonus to crafting)strewn about the entire place. The tools were filthy and not well kept and I felt sadness that these great tools had once been used by the dwarves of the Hold and now lay upon the ground neglected. In examining the forge I realized that it was a masterwork forge (+4 bonus to crafting).

As we made our way through the room the smell of goblin hung in the air. On the left side of the forge we found a spot on the floor eight feet in diameter in which the stone appeared to be a slightly different color. We surmised that this was the location of the shrine to Moradin.

Moving through the forge room we came upon another room in which a large bed with leopard hides and a large trunk with clawed feet and chains on all four sides. We suspected this was the second mimic Isky had told us about. Not taking any chances Kenric shot the trunk with an arrow. The trunk did not move. Braenna kicked it and nothing happened so Braedon stepped up to strike it with his morning star. The trunk did nothing. We soon realized the trunk was made of petrified fungus. Listens to Wind examined it closely and realized the trunk had been constructed from fungus and then left to dry. This technique would have taken months to complete. The examination also revealed that the lock on the trunk was real.

Gerran did as he always does and was able to open the lock. In working the lock he realized it was very unusual. Inside the trunk we found a gnome sized outfit, bedroll, a jug full of wine, a waterskin, iron manacles, four small sacks, and 2 vials full of liquid, we realized these were cure moderate wounds potions.

As we continued to search, we found living quarters for the dwarves that use to live in the Hold. Chairs, tables, pots, pans, dishes all were reflection of the life that use to be here. We even found the kitchen and pantry area. Near the bridge we came into a room with a large chair that was made of some strange material and appeared to have skins on it. On top of the chair was a large skull with empty eye sockets that appeared to stare menacingly at us. Listens to Wind examined the skull and felt it belong to a juvenile black dragon. There was a bed of soft moss and what appeared to be bones. Further examination revealed the bed to be made up of twenty different corpses of different creatures; displacer beasts, a medusa, salamanders, a basilisk; all headless and flattened. To the left of the bed was another pile of bones and quills. Niches in the wall had skulls stuffed into them. Most were goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, gnomes, dwarves, and drow. Further examination of the chair revealed it was made up of gnome and dwarf skins. As I pulled on one of the dwarven heads a section of the wall slid in.

In the next room we found treasure; three chests with padlocks, three casks, a small stone bowl with gems in it, a heap of armor, two large shields holding coins, a gem encrusted horn hanging on the wall, an ornate walking stick, and a golden gong. Gerran sensed magic in the room, coming from the middle chest and the walking cane. As we surveyed the bounty the gong suddenly began to move and tried to bite Braedon. It was the missing mimic we had been warned about.

Braedon struck the creature but found that his weapon had become stuck in its sticky skin. Yathaub attacked it while crying out “Xertec, I told you this day would come!” In the end Listen to Wind was able to defeat the creature and split it in two.

Once we had defeated the mimic, Xertec, we turned our attention back to the loot. Three chests were examined; one of the locks had a trap. Gerran tried the keys we had found and discovered they worked. Gerran disarmed the traps, while doing so he noticed one was a magical trap with a number of runes inside. As he was working on the lock a pink see through dagger appeared. We tried to defend ourselves, but it wasn’t until Braeden summoned a spiritual weapon that the dagger disappeared.

In the chest we found what appeared to be thousands of blurry gems, but on closer inspection we realized they were glass beads. In the next chest we found a set of four keys with demon heads on them. Gerran put the keys in his pocket.

On the southern wall there was a lever. Gerran realized the lever was in the down position and the lever was similar to the traps in Jzadirune. As we were standing there Braedon looked down and found a note on the floor. The note had been sent to Kazmojen from someone named Vervil. The note chastised Kazmojen for his activities and expressed concern stating that some unpleasant people were very upset at him. The note also mentioned a boy that should not have been taken, the group assumed this was in regards to Terrem. The signature was a Kingfisher. Gerran recognized the symbol as being a company his mom’s leather shop had dealt with. Kenric thought that the village of Kingfisher Hollow might be involved.

We found a secret door to the right of the lever. The room was empty but Gerran detected the floor was trapped. The group decided they didn’t need to cross this room so chose to go around to the room with the machines in it.

Most of the group did not see the walls that had first appeared when Gerran and Kenric had been there. All except Listens to Wind, he knew there were walls there and couldn’t understand how the group was able to walk through the walls.

During the exploring I opened a secret door. Inside we found a room with two malachite slabs jutting from the wall. Clothes, daggers, and other items were in the room. We surmised these were the personal possessions of the people who had been kidnapped and held here by Kazmojen. We decided to gather these up and take them to the surface to eventually be returned to their rightful owners.

We then found a hallway with multiple doors that were locked. Gerran determined that one of the demon head keys worked on the locks in this hallway. The rooms appeared to be cells but probably once were living quarters for the dwarves. In the first room we found a secret door but it would only open from the other side.

We continued to explore the area and found three more hallways, all with living quarters and the remaining keys worked in each hallway. We then found a large room with five pallets of malachite from the wall with lichen on the slabs. There was a rack of sixteen javelins, and four chains.

The final room was octagonal in shape. The group found a cooking stove and three branding irons. In one wall there was a small window that looked out over water. Yathaub pointed to the water and told Gerran that is where he had dumped Kazmojen’s body.

We had explored all of the Hold that was accessible to us so we decide to open the door to the under dark. It took myself, Braedon and Listens to Wind to lift the great bar lying across the door. Yathaub manned one of the automatons in case anything came in from the other side. Looking beyond the door was a large cavernous area with a cold wind blowing. Off to the left we saw the rements of a patio. To the west was a large arch that was fifty feet in height. Inside the arch was one solid wall of malachite, exactly like what we found in Jzadirune.

Looking down the tunnel into the under dark the cold wind blew with a strange smell. Most of us go to look at the arch but Listens to Wind and his pet wander down the tunnel about five hundred feet. Listens to Wind finds it cold, dark and a bit scary so he and Jump head back to the group. As he is walking back he tried to see what has been down the tunnel. He sees the tracks of a gnome, a large creature and two devils heading to the Hold but only the gnome tracks returned.

We decided to check out the water so I tied a sun rod to two lengths of ropes. We found Kazmojen’s body but not much else. We head back into the Hold and return the bar onto the door to prevent others from following us in.

We still haven’t found the master key so we inquire with Yathaub, the creepers and Terefax. We discovered the key is on a silver chain and is small, brass and delicate.

Before we head up to the city we tell Yathaub to send a creeper to find us if he is in need of assistance defending the Hold.

Back on the surface the grandfather clock reaches out to tap Gerran on his shoulder. It is Isky. He tells Gerran that a message was delivered for him today. The message was from Terseon Skellerans, Captain of the Town Guard. The message read “ I would like to meet with you at the town hall to discuss a very important matter. Please come at your earliest convenience or send notice that you are unable to attend.”

Given that is was only late afternoon the group decided to head to the guard barracks. After waiting some time we finally met with the Captain. We went into his apartment and found the Captain behind his desk with Tarmy Twobucklesitting next to him. The Captain indicated that he had been encouraged by others to seek out our help. What he was telling us was a secret. Goblins have been breaking in to homes and warehouses and stealing. And with the biggest festival of the year coming up the Captain wants these goblins are taken care of. The goblins are organized and he needs our help finding them and stopping them. The Captain offers us five gold for each goblin ear we bring him. The Captain suspects that the Last Laugh is involved. One thing they do know is the goblins appear at night when it is cloudy, overcast and always when it is foggy. Gerran wondered if the goblins were linked with the people who were insane. The Captain did not know if there was a link. The group agreed to be deputized and work with Sergeant Tarmy Two-buckle. Gerran and Listens to Wind decide they should do the initial scouting as they were more skilled in searching stealthfully.

That evening the group finds out the Malachite Hold is currently in Zenith Splintershield’s name. He claimed the Hold but no one is sure how this was done. They do know currently Jzadirune and the Hold are not claimed by the City of Caldron. So the group could lay claim to Jzadirune and the Hold.

After meeting with the Captain and Tarmy Two-Buckle the group disperses. Prior to splitting up the group discuss future aspects of their adventuring. The group discusses the possibility of buying property, possibly outside of town to meet the group’s needs or moving the possibility of moving into the Church of Pelor. Another possibility for the group is to the brunt out building by the Lake and drill down in Jzadarune. A decision is not made at this time but the group knows they can’t stay in Ghelve’s house forever.

Braenna heads back to her home to meet with her employer, Gurnezarn. Kenric was at Ghelves stacking his coins. Braedon stays at Ghelves as well. Gerran disappeared for a couple of hours and returned later in the evening. During this time Listens to Wind and Hoppy took a nap in a pile in the corner among the jaguar rugs as his great sword laid majestically against the wall.

Gerran wakes Listens to Wind and Hoppy. The two head out to hunt for signs of goblins by going to the locksmith roof to watch. Kenrci, Braedon and Braenna hang out at Ghelve’s to provide back up. The two are on opposite sides of the rood, wandering and skulking as they watch the night life. Most of the shops are closed, lights are on, the lamp guild has already lit the lamps in the city. As the night gets later the night spots start to close down and the riff raft begins to appear. At midnight the city becomes quiet, but during this time of year it rains in the evening. Gerran and Listens to Wind stay on the watch. A mist begins to rise so it starts to get difficult to listen and see.

Gerran notices it is extra quiet. The moonlight is reflecting off of the mist so there are shadows and lights reflecting. At one point Gerran notices the night insects are also quiet. Which makes the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Gerran suddenly feels a pressure and then pain as something slashes through his armor. The pain turns to a tingling sensation across his body. And feels a light hand on his shoulder. As he turns around he sees a smiling face, half white and half black. It is a member of the Last Laugh. She tries to support Gerran so he doesn’t fall. She waves her hand and the sounds of the night come back. She has a dagger in her right hand. Listens can hear her talk to Garren. “Hello lover” she says. Gerran tried to grapple her, so she drops her dagger and prepares to fight. The smile leaving her face. Gerran tries to grab her but he fails. Listens to Winds alerted by the noise rushes to aid his friend with his fists ready to do battle but their foe rolls off the roof falling fifteen feet to the ground and flees into the palms. Gerran runs to the other edge of the roof and listens for the mysterious stranger. He doesn’t see her so he throws out his color spray. Listens to Wind moves to the end of the roof and spots the female on the ground. Listens casts entangle. He calls out to Gerran he sees the attacker on the other side of the house. The spell works and she is not stuck to the ground. Gerran moves to the edge of the roof and casts charm person on her. She looks at Gerran with bedazzled eyes “Gerran, I have missed you.” she replies coyly. In the meantime the group in Ghelve’s hears all the commotion on the roof. The group walks out the door to see a member of the Last Laugh with Gerran and Listens to Wind. They are startled by this sight. Gerran escorts his new “friend” back into Ghelve’s. She nods her head and addresses each of the group members and then indicated her name was Jil.

Listens to Wind heads out to find the guards and Kenric locks the door behind him. Jil wanders in the room. “I can’t stay. I just came to give you a message. Someone in my organization you need to tell Skellerang to back off. I know you are in bed with him, I saw you.”

“Who do we need to back off?”

“Last Laugh. And the person in charge is The Boss. I need to tell you something, you are looking for the goblins. Try the bathhouse. I wish I could stay but I need to go. I’ll see you on the roof lover.” She is trying to leave. Gerran “But we are going to need your help. Where does your organization hang at?” She replied coyly “You don’t need to know Love. We have done no one wrong. Our organization has issues with how the city is run and with the Alley Bashers. We took care of them. By the time we are done this will be an upstanding city.”

Kenric tried to detect magic. She had a magical whip at her side and little tiny pouches at her side had a wand and potion of Cure Moderate wounds. There was also a scroll with a spell on it, undetectable alignment. Gerran asks her to disarm. She wanders into the other room with Gerran. She began to disrobe.

Listens tells the guard they have a member of the Last Laugh in our custody. The guard tells him to lead on.

Gerran ties her up. When the guard arrives she giggles and says something about company. The group searches through her stuff and give her the cloths back. The guards, the Last Laugh member and the group head out. Gerran picks up the dagger she dropped.

The group accompanies the guards and Jil. Kenric locks the store up after the group left. Jil is arrested and is locked up. The court date is set for the following morning.

Sandal Baberfoot is the guard on duty. He is technically not on duty but he came down to see what the fuss was about. Gerran tells him a member of the Last Laugh is in custody. “Sometime tomorrow morning please arrive for court.”

Gerran checks out the dagger Jil used. The dagger appears to be normal with poison still on the blade.

The group decides given how early in the morning it was (or late in the night depending on how you look at it, they decide to call it a night and get some rest. Listen to Winds and his pet, Hoppy roll up in their skins to take a well deserved rest. The rest of the group just decides to crash at Ghelve’s house.

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