3.5 Knightfall's Aerie of the Crow God [Kulan] (IC) - Page 104
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  1. #1031
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    Gurnard's Head
    Secrets and revelations. You've come out to Gurnard's Head with an agenda. You need to find out what the wererat named Hornauer knows about the wererats that killed Sir Ghal's father, as well as any information he has on the cultists he mentioned to you the first time you visited the rocky isle. You also have task of outing him and his brood from the tower, as decreed by Lady Pendour, as task that goes against the promise you made to him.

    The wererat sensed your arrival and came out to frighten you off. He and his brood surrounded you all. That's when everything turned upside down. Two of the veteran guards that were brought, no, sent alongside Sir Ghal are actually retired knights of the Crimson Blades, an order of investigators dedicated to rooting out evil in the Strandlands. This wasn't was Ghal told you when asking for your help. The news incensed Caerth.

    Sir Ghal sheepishly apologized for lying to you, as he was ordered to do so by Sir Balorix and Aeron, Caerth's mentor. Sir Balorix swears it was not his intention to mislead you but felt that he needed to keep his identity a secret. He and Sir Ghal both go to their knees and offer their weapons to Caerth in submission while one of Sir Ghal's soldiers, Elijah, looks on in disbelief. (He didn't know either.)

    During this standoff, you learn that Hornauer did indeed know Odilos, years ago, but he is very frightened that the Rat Guild of Sandbreak has learned of his presence in the region through the dead wererat and that his mother, the Ash Witch will find him and his brood. The Ash Witch is believed to be a near mythical wererat/vampire that was destroyed over 800 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase View Post
    Caerth hesitates. Yes, he is angry at the paladin for not telling the truth which is the same as lying, isnt it? but he doesnt want to kill him for it. Injuring, perhaps.

    Barely hearing Hornauers words, what the wererat says does influence the half-orcs thinking. Those so-called civilized folk are a plague upon the world!

    Caerth growls, a deep guttural sound only one with orcish blood can make.

    I should punish you, he says with feeling. Nevertheless, he makes no move yet, unable to decide on a course of action.

    Then he takes a few deep breaths, closes his eyes, and upon opening them again the druid seems somewhat less tense.

    Friends, he says to his companions, the only ones he still trusts, What should I do?
    "I think we now have more dangerous concerns," Aureus adds. "Still, no more lies. Truths only from them," she points to the two knights before stepping up to look Hornauer in the eyes. "And from the ratman."

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotley View Post
    Phar takes a moment to get his own thoughts in order and take a calming breath. He looks first to Caerth, "Yes these men have wronged us, but look at their penitence", he says gesturing to the men on their knees. "Is not their willingness to make such a sacrifice enough to show their value. I have more questions now, than I did when I left my bed this morning. I do not think anyone should be killed here until we have some answers." He turns to the others. "In the interest of getting some answers I will share what I know. The Ash Queen is legendary enough that I have heard tales of her in the distant Great Forest of Harqual. She was a powerful Wererat Queen that would be akin to some of the Werewolf Lords that are infamous to history. However, the legend also said she was a vampire and that her broods were touched by both curses. Perhaps she could survive if that is true."
    "A v- vampiric wererat," Elijah steps back from Hornauer.

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase View Post
    Caerth nods as he considers Phar's words.

    "I do not wish to kill anyone," the half-orc says slowly, softly. Then louder, he continues, "But I cannot trust either of you again, and if you lie to me again, I will unleash nature's full wrath upon you!"

    He takes a few steps back, not accepting the offered weapons, to let Ghal and Balorix get up from their kneeling position. With one hand he releases his greatspear, then places the weapon with one end on the ground in a non-hostile position.
    Hornauer steps away from Caerth as Aureus eyes him carefully. "I am not a vampire. I swear it."

    "Aye," Sir Balorix says as he rises to his feet and sheaths his silver blade. "I would have sensed that right away."

    Sir Ghal stands but keeps his eyes downcast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotley
    Phar looks at Hornauer, "Would you care to comment?"
    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase
    Then Caerth looks at Hornauer with an almost apologetic look, as if he is starting to trust the wererat somewhat...
    "The, the Ash Queen is mother to all those in the guild but that doesn't mean all the ratkin share her bloodline. I am not her true son, which is one of the reasons I left, well, ran away really. Lycia and I wanted to live together and raise our own brood without mother's interferance."

    "Your mate, she's a ratwere, correct?" Sir Balorix asks.

    "Yes, you can tell that just by looking at her?"

    "No, I suspected, but I didn't know until you just told me." The knight smirks.

    The wererat grins but isn't amused.

    "If the Ash Witch is indeed alive and living in Sandbreak, the Strandlands are in great danger," Sir Ghal says sheepishly.

    "Yes, but we can't do anything about that right now," Sir Balorix says to the young knight. "Besides, there was something about cultists still being here on Gurnard's Head." He looks at the wererat. Hornauer nods.

    "And the note that the other wererat had on him. It mentions the 'bastard son' amd the 'breeder', Aureus adds. She looks at Hornauer. "You and your mate, I think."

    "Shhh! Not so loud. If Lycia hears you, she will go crazy," Hornauer whispers. "You are right, of course. This means mother suspects we have come here. Lycia and I have no choice now, we have to leave. When Odilos doesn't return or send word, she will suspect I killed him. Damn, how did he find us? We were so careful."

    "And the cultists?" Sir Ghal asks.

    "They worship some obscure demonic crow. I had never heard of it before coming here. They control all of the underground passages and rooms adjacent to the tower. There is even a temple to this crow god somewhere in there, but I've never seen it. I had no desire to see it."

    "Malotoch." Sir Ghal whispers in fear.

    "Yes, I'm definitely coming out of retirement," Sir Balorix adds with a sigh.
    Last edited by Knightfall; Sunday, 16th June, 2019 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #1032
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    Knightfall's Aerie of the Crow God [Kulan] (IC)

    Caerth listens and watches everyone intently. He is sceptical of everything Ghal and Balorix say, but he listens nonetheless.

    Trouble between a wererat and his former nestmates seems a small thing, even if they bring along their lycanthropic afflection. Hornauer seemingly ready to depart of his own intent, good, that would mean not breaking a promise. Cultists of some demonic crow deity...

    Wait, says the half-orc suddenly, They worship a crow and yet they stay below the earth? What madness is that?

  3. #1033
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    "Malotoch .. .. .. Malotoch .. .. .. Malotoch.", Quinn repeats the name softly with a contemplative look.

    Knowledge: Religion [basic 10 information, +1 Int] (rolled a 6)

    "I have never heard of this being in my travels, but I wonder if those rooks worship .. .. .. it."
    Last edited by Scott DeWar; Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 at 12:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase View Post
    Caerth listens and watches everyone intently. He is sceptical of everything Ghal and Balorix say, but he listens nonetheless.

    Trouble between a wererat and his former nestmates seems a small thing, even if they bring along their lycanthropic afflection. Hornauer seemingly ready to depart of his own intent, good, that would mean not breaking a promise. Cultists of some demonic crow deity...

    Wait, says the half-orc suddenly, They worship a crow and yet they stay below the earth? What madness is that?
    "No idea," Hornauer replies. "And I never felt like intorducing myself to them. The seem to accept my brood as a simple fact of life and I've kept my dire rats away from them. They aren't aware of me or my mate's presence here. I'm certain of that," he nods his head. "Well, I'm fairly certain they aren't aware of us."

    "So, you are not their ally," Aureus notes. "That's good."

    "There is no way that I'd align myself with crazy demon worshiping cannibals."

    "C-cannibals..." Elijah says with fear.

    "Worshipers of Malotoch are always cannibals," Sir Balorix notes. "Malotoch is known as the Carrion Crow Mistress. She is the demon goddess of scavengers and cannibals."

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott DeWar View Post
    "Malotoch .. .. .. Malotoch .. .. .. Malotoch.", Quinn repeats the name softly with a contemplative look.

    "I have never heard of this being in my travels, but I wonder if those rooks worship .. .. .. it."
    "I don't know if the rooks you killed worshiped Malotoch, but they did seem drawn here by the presence of the cultists. Again, I never introduced myself to them, so it's not like I could ask them," the wererat hisses.

    "Rooks are known for eating carrion," Sir Ghal adds. "If there is a Malotoch cult hidden here, the winged beasts would see the tower as a nesting ground."

    "Yes, and now that they're gone, the cultists are more paranoid about patroling the tower in addition to lowest level of their temple." The wererat shifts nervously. "Unless your want to fight them head on, I suggest we leave, now."

    "How many?" Sir Balorix checks his gear. "How well armed?"

    "I don't know exactly," Hornauer whines nervously. "On the lowest level, where my lair was before Caerth and the others came, there aren't too many cultists. Just ghoulish pets and guardians."

    "Yes, we fought a dangerous centipede on a bridge down there," Aureus adds.

    "There are worse things lurking down there than what you faced. There is a deadly giant frog and some sort of elemental beast that my brood will not go near. The two levels above that one are full of more guardians, as well as the cultists. I've never been to the top level. It would be too risky." He looks at Balorix with a toothy grin. "If you go in there with only these few, you're not coming out alive, and I will not help you."

    "I didn't think you would. Now, how many actual cultists?"

    The wererat thows up his hands in frustration. "I don't know! Dozens. Many priests and magicians, for sure. Most of the patrols are acolytes, or ghouls." He sighs. "And some rooks, as well. But not as many as there once was, I think."

    "Did you hear any of the cultists' names?"

    "A few." The wererat hisses. "But I'm not telling you until you assure me we're leaving."

    "That is not my decision to make," the old knight looks a Caerth. "Since you feel that I have wronged you, I will leave it up to you to decide what we do next."

    "Sir Balorix, we must root these fiends out!" Sir Ghal insists.

    "Aye, but we came here for Hornauer not to start a war with carrion eaters. And we can always return with greater numbers." The knight doesn't take his eyes off Caerth. "What say you, druid? Stay and fight or go and report what we know?"

  5. #1035
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    "Caerth, perhaps we should keep our present promise to Hornauer, get supplies for an extended trip below and return in stealth."
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    Caerth is pleased that Balorix asks him for permission directly, even though he realizes this is not about him. Still, the proud half-orc shows himself to be satisfied with this outcome.

    "I have promised Hornauer we will not harm him or his brood, and them leaving makes sure we can keep that promise without breaking the one to the Lady. So that is what we do first," he says, trying to sound like a leader instead of just a guy from the woods.

    Keeping his eyes on Balorix, the druid hesitates for a moment. By the sound of it, there are a lot of cultists down there, and they worship a cannibal demon. Cannibalism is not necessarily unnatural, despite its rarity, but a demon certainly is a threat against nature - as is an outright war between peoples.

    "We need to root out that cult," the half-orc decides. "But we'll need some supplies, and perhaps more men."

    Caerth then turns to the wererat. "Hornauer, I cannot ask you to join us, but could you give us a sketch of the lower levels and the threats you know we must face? I'm sure that in exchange the good Sirs here," and he motions to Balorix and Ghal somewhat dismissively, "can make sure you get safe passage to wherever you and your brood want to go."

    Focusing on Balorix again, he softly adds, "We'll talk about the other things you said later."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott DeWar View Post
    "Caerth, perhaps we should keep our present promise to Hornauer, get supplies for an extended trip below and return in stealth."
    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase View Post
    Caerth is pleased that Balorix asks him for permission directly, even though he realizes this is not about him. Still, the proud half-orc shows himself to be satisfied with this outcome.

    "I have promised Hornauer we will not harm him or his brood, and them leaving makes sure we can keep that promise without breaking the one to the Lady. So that is what we do first," he says, trying to sound like a leader instead of just a guy from the woods.
    Aureus nods her head in agreement and even Elijah relaxes, a little. Sir Balorix seems content with Caerth's decision while Sir Ghal shifts his feet, uncomfortably. Balorix notes the knight's uncertainty and puts his hand on his shoulder. The young knight sighs and nods his head.

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase
    Keeping his eyes on Balorix, the druid hesitates for a moment. By the sound of it, there are a lot of cultists down there, and they worship a cannibal demon. Cannibalism is not necessarily unnatural, despite its rarity, but a demon certainly is a threat against nature - as is an outright war between peoples.

    "We need to root out that cult," the half-orc decides. "But we'll need some supplies, and perhaps more men."
    "I agree," the paladin says. "It would be foolhardy to rush in unprepared. I feel I should travel to Ironsoul and tell the senate about these cultists, but I don't know if I should leave you without my skills."

    Sir Ghal clears his throat. "I'd be willing to go."

    "They wouldn't speak to you. You're too young. I'll send Sir Avanth. He is better at politics than I." He looks at Caerth. "Lady Pendour's forces are already stretched thin. You'll probably have to head to Fort Symas to seek aid there. I could try to go to the garrison at Belporte and ask for their aid, but I doubt they'd help."

    "If it came from that Xander man, they might," Aureus notes. "He is important, right? A prince."

    "Lord Xander Chartrese is more of a fop than a diplomat, but he does have some respect amongst Belporte's nobles. Or so I've heard."

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase
    Caerth then turns to the wererat. "Hornauer, I cannot ask you to join us, but could you give us a sketch of the lower levels and the threats you know we must face? I'm sure that in exchange the good Sirs here," and he motions to Balorix and Ghal somewhat dismissively, "can make sure you get safe passage to wherever you and your brood want to go."
    "Lycia mapped out the tower and temple years ago. Nothing fancy, just some scawls on parchment. You cleaned out the tower, so you shouldn't have to worry about going back inside. Once you get down to the temple though, it won't be easy." He looks back at the tower and sighs. "I might as well get this over with. She's not going to be happy."

    Hornauer goes up the steps into the tower. Sir Ghal wants to go in with him, but the old paladin shakes his head. What happens next is a lot of angry yelling, snarling, and whimpering. The wererat comes back out with his clothes even dirtier and angry glow in his eyes.

    "Sometimes, I wonder..." He mutters to himself. "She wouldn't give me the maps without a fight. She can be like that, passionate." He pauses then sighs. "She tossed the tower maps on the fire before I could stop her, but I did manage to get the two lower level maps for the temple away from her before she burned them too. The maps aren't her best work, and I'm sure she has better versions stashed somewhere, but I'm not going to force her paws. She's bitter that we're leaving without a fight."

    "She will get over it," Aureus insists. "Better to survive."

    Hornauer shrugs. He looks at Sir Balorix. "So, how are you going to get us out of here?"

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCase
    Focusing on Balorix again, he softly adds, "We'll talk about the other things you said later."
    The knight nods.

    He says to the wererat, "I can guarantee you and your mate safe passage as far as Knightswall to the south. I have significant influence in the Wasting Shores. However, I can't guarantee anything for your brood. Hundreds of rats traveling the road would turn into a bloodbath. They will have to take their chances along the shoreline or in the hills. There are several lighthouses that you and Lycia can take refuge in, if required, but we'll have to avoid the towns and villages."

    "I would prefer that," the wererat replies. "And if we want to resettle somewhere else in the Strandlands, do you have an option?"

    "Not as yet but don't you want to leave, now that you know your Mother might be searching for you?"

    "Maybe, but I have to consider Lycia. She's going to be bursting with more pups soon. She's going to need a place to give birth in four or five months."

    "We will find a solution," Sir Ghal replies. "That works for you and for us."

    "I will hold you to that promise, knight."

    "As will we," Aureus adds.

    Hornauer hands over the two maps to Caerth before heading back into the tower. Soon there is more snarling and, other sounds.

    "Disgusting," Elijah says with a muffled retch.

    "Love is love," Sir Balorix says. "Don't judge them without knowing their hearts. Now be a good man and go tell Sir Avanth we'll be leaving soon."

    The soldier does as he is told, quickly while Caerth and the others look at the maps of the temple...
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  8. #1038
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    Phar keeps his own council as the issues discussed are not directly his. He does nod in approval however and once the maps are available he rejoins the conversation. "This is most helpful, but Hornauer is no sage of threats." "Death?" "Bad?" "Big Bug?" He frowns in disgust as the lack of scholarship offends his sensibilities. "And Book? That could be very interesting, but how many? What kind. Nothing for it to go and see for ourselves. At least we are forewarned."
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    yes, we sure know about that bug. what troubles me is the room next to the rooks labeled eggs. I don't think those are chicken eggs.
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    Caerth frowns, then moves over. A bit more rude than he intends, the half-orc demands to see the map.

    "Must be rook eggs. Underground nests? Those are certainly not natural," he mutters before handing the map back to Quinn. The map itself makes slightly more sense to the druid, as he realizes that the notes refer to how a rat would categorize things it encounters. 'Death' is either a lethal danger or a corpse, 'bad' is danger or unsafe to eat, and 'big bug' would have to be a really big creature if a wererat or dire rate feels the urge to describe it as such.

    "This will do," he says, nodding gratefully to Hornauer. Then Caerth turns to his companions.

    "So when will we be ready to head below?"
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