The trees of the forest of Endrel began to thin as Ug and Derek approached the road. They had been traveling together for over six months, going back and forth between Derek’s contacts in the great desert and the elves of Endrel with stops into Rudick’s Pass in between. Ug thoroughly enjoyed Derek’s company, but worried at his friend’s massive swings in mood that he was prone to. Though most of the time he put on a good face, Ug knew that something was torturing his new friend and he wanted to help if he could. Thinking about this and the trepidation that he always felt when entering a populated area Ug had not noticed that they had breached the tree line and that a caravan was coming down the road from the east, while an old man and a gnome were approaching from the west.
Ever suspicious, Derek counseled caution as the three groups approached each other at the crossroads that would lead up to Rudik’s Pass. The caravan was an odd assortment of Sartii Royal Guard, merchants and a strange little creature that looked like a lizard that walked upright. Derek and the Captain of the guard had a brief interaction that contained Derek’s usual word play with new people, looking to ferret out any information he could while giving as little as possible back.
As this took place, Ug took the time to look over the approaching old man and gnome. The old man was dressed in one of the most outlandish and garishly colored robes Ug had ever seen, bright purple with gold stars emblazoned all over it with a matching pointed hat. He seemed to be deep in conversation with the little gnome that he traveled with and was quite oblivious to the caravan. The gnome on the other hand was looking them over in the same manner that Ug had seen other practitioners of the martial arts, weighing and measuring and seeking any sign of a threat. Once the three vastly different groups were all together and introductions had been made, it was decided that they should all travel together up to Rudik’s Pass.
Reaching the base of the path up through the mountains, storm clouds had begun to gather ominously, peals of thunder breaking the conversations that had been struck up. Ug had taken to helping the old magi whose name he found out was Elik the Occasionally Ardent, which seemed a strange name to Ug and must be a title of some sort bestowed by his order. After an especially loud crack of thunder, Derek began to state that he thought it would be best if they camped at the base of the tree line until the storm passed. Immediately, the merchant Reginald, whose caravan it was, began to vehemently argue that he had a schedule to keep and that he would not be delayed. Derek, not being one who likes being argued with, shot back with a retort. It went back and forth like this for several minutes with Captain Foren attempting to keep the peace between the two finally suggesting that they make their way up but promising Derek that if it got too bad they would stop and camp. During this argument, Elik had been telling Ug and anyone else who would listen about how the great sage Phineas Phinerby had once postulated that the weather was a result of the suns rays impacting upon the planet and heating up the oceans causing precipitation. Elik dismissed this immediately as rubbish because everyone knows that while this may be true of some of the weather, Phineas is an idiot because he forgot to factor in the influence of divine beings and interplaner interactions which results in a 432.564% increase in weather related phenomena and if he couldn’t even factor that in Elik for the life of him cannot figure out why he got the Order of the Stars, Third Class and Elik’s work on the mating habits of Balors and Imps was laughed at by Jacoby Weiss and called a “frivolous exercise in intellectual futility” which Elik thought was a bit harsh but he Jacoby always did act like a donkey’s backside. Not really following a word of this Ug smiled and nodded politely as his master had taught him when interacting with his elders as respect was one of the six key Pillars of Virtue.
Rain and hail began falling quite heavily as they passed the tree line progressing in the next 30 minutes to where the wind was so strong that Ug had to help Elik along to keep him from being knocked over. Calling above the wind the Captain pointed to a cave entrance that looked big enough for the group to shelter in, even with the wagons and horses. As the group all gets in and begins to dry off, a massive bolt of lightning strikes just above the cave entrance causing a collapse, trapping the group within. Thankfully no one gets hurt by the cave in. Looking around, the group sees that this is not a natural cave and in fact looks to be manufactured by some long forgotten culture.
Reginald and the Captain begin arguing with each other about what to do now that they are trapped. Reginald immediately begins ordering his men to unblock the entrance, Captain Foren on the other hand does not want anyone exposed to the harsh weather and states that the excavating should not be done until the storm passes. This goes back and forth for a little bit until Captain Foren states that if necessary he will use force to stop Reginald. At this threat Reginald halfheartedly agrees to wait.
While this is going on, Ug and the little lizard man, whose name is Jack, begin to poke around each of the three doors that lead off from the chamber, finally announcing that none of them are trapped. Deciding to take a further look to see if there is another way out Jack unlocks the door leading to the west. It opens into a bare room full of nothing but dust, the sole object in the room a stone chest set into the middle of the room which Jack and Ug proceed to open, triggering a group of darts to spring forth from a hidden alcove, one of them striking Ug in the shoulder. Pulling the annoyance out, Ug find what looks like a band that would be worn around the head, and some small sacks with one containing pearls and the other containing some very old gold coins. Seeing no way out through this way they head back to the main room. Deciding to take the door across the chamber, Jack unlocks it and it leads into a hallway.
Proceeding down the hallway, Ug takes the lead and they enter a room that has three stone sarcophagi along the far wall. Immediately upon entering, three head detach themselves from the sarcophagi and attack Ug and Jack, shrieking while doing so causing Jack to become paralyzed with fear. Ug performs the Mountain Strike maneuver felling one of the vile creatures immediately. Hearing the sounds of battle Captain Foren and his guards, along with Elik and the gnome immediately rush to help. Another head is dispatched by Ug with Captain Foren slaying the last one. Ug is beginning to think that even if they manage to get the cave entrance open, this place must be cleansed of the evil that is permeating it. Searching through the sarcophagi, to make sure there aren’t any more of those creatures, they find a ring which along with the headband, Elik excitedly claims are magical although he does not yet know what they do.
Heading back the main room, Elik says to Ug “It seems you are without a magi, would you mind if I joined you in exploring?” Derek gives Ug a disgusted look when Ug says “Of course, sir, your skills would be welcome.”
At this point another bolt of lightning strikes somewhere outside, causing the last door to collapse in a shower of dust and rock. Squealing is immediately heard afterwards, as a hoard of diseased rats pour out of the opening where the door used to be. Using his trademark quick thinking, Derek tosses a flask of Alchemist’s Fire into their midst, making short work of them.
Reginald, apparently having enough of the surprises of the place, orders his men to start clearing the cave-in with Captain Foren agreeing and having his troops help. Meanwhile, the rest of the group, Derek included, decide to continue exploring.
Proceeding down a long tunnel, the group finds a chamber with a shaft opening up a hundred feet above their head to the sky, a rope hanging down from it. Several stone tables adorn the room along with all manner of rusty torture implements. A crack of lightning reveals they are not alone as a group of four creatures leap to attack from across the room. The group has a rather vicious fight with them although ultimately triumphing in the end. After taking a moment to rest and heal, the group continues on down the tunnel, wanting to end the scourge of this place so that no others will be harmed as a result should they come across this place. At least that is why Ug was going, he suspected some of the others had motivations that might not be quite so noble.
Progressing down another long tunnel, the group came upon two doors. Deciding to open the one to the west, it opens up into another long tunnel. Wanting to see what was through the other door, they open it before progressing down the other tunnel. Beyond was a wall of pitch blackness that no light could penetrate. Jack suggests that maybe Elik has a spell that would allow us to find out what is on the other side without subjecting us to danger. Elik agrees and summons a dog, which immediately enters the room. Shortly afterwards, squealing and a sound of something wet splattering the floor is heard. Quickly shutting the door, the group starts discussing what to do as pounding is heard from the other side. Deciding to prepare for combat the group readies themselves. The gnome immediately sweeps off his hat and begins transforming into a huge construct of wood and metal. Ug didn’t have much time to be fascinated by the sight of a transforming Guardian, as at that moment a pair of large hands proceeded to rip the door away into the darkness.
At that point an undead creature lumbers through the darkness and attacks. The group fights valiantly, Ug attempting the Kayo’hensu sweep on the creature without success. It eventually succumbs to the damage the group inflicts upon it, the evil light leaving its eyes. While, the group looks through the room, Ug heads down the other hallway, not wanting his new companions to be attacked while they are searching.
He enters a room with many cobwebs in it, and actually gets entangled in some before burning them away. A big spider tries to drop down upon Ug and attack him but his training against similar techniques employed by the students of the Demonridden Won’Hi’Lo allowed him to make short work of the creature. Jack eventually comes into the room and searches the bodies, finding a pearl and some more gold.
Returning back to the group, they have found out that the altar was hollow and there was an evil black flail inside of it that we vowed to destroy, although Jack for some reason Ug could not fathom was hesitant to destroy the cursed thing. The group head back to the main chamber, Ug heads up the rope in the tunnel to see if he can get back down to the outside of the cave-in and finds out he can.
Eventually the whole group manages to get out of the cave-in and proceed towards Rudik’s Pass as the storm dies down. They eventually reach the northern gate to Rudik’s Pass and enter without trouble. Ug feels good about the fact that he can come and go in Rudik’s Pass without too much trouble due to his relationship with Derek who comes from here. He still has to endure the occasional taunt but the people here generally are content to let him be.
As they enter the town, the sun breaks the horizon and Ug begins to perform his morning meditation and prayer. Seeing Ug do this before, Derek continues with the rest of the group to the Inn. After an hour, Ug joins his fellows at the Inn for a meal and much needed sleep.
Arriving, he finds Elik and Jack seated at a table eating who tell him that Derek has gone off into the town somewhere. After the meal and a lot more talking from Elik, this time on the merits of conjuration versus evocation magic, they retire to their rooms, Jack goes to sleep with Reginald and the caravan. Seeing that Elik has not gotten himself a room and that his gnome friend is not to be found, Ug offers to let him sleep in the room with Derek and himself to which he heartily agrees, apologizing in advance for his snoring.
After waking the next few hours progress by in a blur, there are apparently many things that are happening in the town that had not been occurring the last time Ug came through. Sicknesses, and the close of the gate to the south, a blockade of Ravannese soldiers, a disappearance of two groups of miners, for which the party, namely Jack and Ug are blamed by a couple of drunken dwarves, which eventually results in an embarrassing fight in the Inn. There is so much going on Ug has a hard time following it until after an argument with Derek about an incident in the temple destroying the flail, which Ug was saddened to have, they came upon the most bizarre of experiences.
Derek had gone to the town baker and wizardess to ask some questions about the occurrences around the town. Once he got there he was immediately attacked by some instruments in the living room, namely a book, a fireplace poker, and a cord from the draperies. Luckily the group was nearby because Ug, Jack, and Elik were able to rush to his aid. Obviously Ug had no doubt that he would have been able to handle things himself, but he wanted to make sure his friend was not in trouble. Proceeding through the rest of the house the group were amazed at the carnage that had been wreaked. Going into the bedroom they came upon the baker tied to the bed, having been tortured by a small devilish creature that the group quickly dispatched. After being freed the baker told us an amazing tale of a giant pastry run amok. Seeing that the town was in danger from such a creature, Ug and the group proceeded to the basement to slay the beast. Through combined group effort, and lots of tomato sauce later, the creature was brought down. As fortune would have it, immediately afterward the wizardess arrived home, thanking us profusely for helping her husband.
After all of this, the group decides to head into the mines to try and find out what happened to the miners. They will go the next morning after resting and re-supplying.
Another adventure awaits…