Desnus 5th-6th, 4719
Through the pouring rain the group continues exploring Varnhold. After Iola “finds” (nearly falls into) a couple of pit traps the group makes their way to the local inn, a place called the Water Horse. On their way in they notice the word “NOMEN” has been hastily scratched into the front door. Once inside the first thing they notice is a large gnome like creature (holding a book) frozen in place and surrounded by a strange amber energy (Scotia recognizes it as the effects of a Sepia Snake Sigil), the poor creature’s head had been bashed in though it’s face shows no sign of pain. They continue to explore the inn to find the bar has been looted of alcohol though the kitchen has only been half looted. In the rest of the inn they only find some possessions in one of the rooms and in the corner of the tavern sits a pile of books and papers. As the group rummages through these they quickly discover that they belong to Evril Pendrod (the academic from their Academy). Among Pendrod’s notes they find reference to an ancient jade bracelet found on a nearby riverbank and mention of something called Vordakai (a centaur god?). Pendrod believed the bracelet, Vordakai, and the Nomen centaurs were somehow connected. The inn is otherwise abandoned with no signs of struggle. The group leaves the injured Wan-Fu in the inn root cellar as they continue their exploration of the town.
They continue on to explore the local temple, cemetery, well (where they find another of the gnome like creatures bodies, this one small), grange, potter’s house, tailor’s house, and weaver’s house. All they find are abandoned buildings (except for a cat named “Dragon” in the weaver’s house, Iola befriends it and they drop it off with Wan-Fu). The entire town seems abandoned except for the ubiquitous crows. Next they explore the blacksmith and livery, the livery yard contains the carcasses of dead horses and the highest concentration of crows in the town. Again, abandoned with no signs of a struggle. As Scotia enters the livery yard a murder of aggressive crows attack, injuring and blinding the High Sorceress of Innisfree. Adal immediately retreats into the blacksmith while the others do their best against the swarm of birds. Eventually the group all take refuge in the blacksmith building and wait for the crows to dissipate. With Scotia injured the group returns to the inn to spend the night in the root cellar. The next morning Scotia has regained enough vision to continue. The group explores the gem cutter’s shop (which has been completely looted and destroyed) and a sod hut (where they find a journal and a Folding Boat). Finally they set their sights on Varnhold’s Stockade, which sits atop a hill overlooking the entire area. A thin column of smoke can be seen rising from it’s yard.
They approach the front gate to see the tops of 6 guard helmets moving around in the tower, it takes little time to realize the helms move with the wind and are obviously just propped up on sticks. The group calls out to no response, the still pouring rain making hearing difficult. Scotia casts fly on Adal and he flies over to unlock the gate. Unfortunately he is spotted. The fort is actually inhabited by a group of strange blue-green skinned feral gnome like creatures (like the bodies they saw in the town) and a small pack of wolves. The alarm is raised and the battle is on. The group try their best to talk to the creatures, but the inhabitants have none of it. The creatures enlarge themselves and attack. Magic and steel are tossed across the sloppy and muddy battlefield, the group comes out victorious though at great cost. Iola is slain attempting to retreat from the creature’s chief (a fearsome warrior skilled with the great club).
At the end of the day the group has secured the town and captured 4 of the creatures. Still no signs of human life. The session ends as the group takes Iola’s body to the temple of Erastil and decide what to do (have Wan-Fu try and use the scroll of Raise Dead they found or contact Jhod and Deoryr to raise Iola).