Despite it being a poor idea, we decided to go on to Darok. About five miles north of town, we noticed that the marshy terrain had grown uncharacteristically cold, even to the point of freezing the swamp. We found the husk of a giant crab that had been shot in the eyes with arrows. Upon further investigation, we discovered the clawed tracks from a handful of creatures near the carcass. Instead of following them, we decided to press on to town, due to the unnatural cold. Also, Seraphina said something about a dragon, which seemed like a good enough reason to avoid trekking off into a frozen swamp.
Falorin, Seraphina and Maple proceded into Darok to check for any God-Emporer presence. Seeing none, Falorin retrieved Harelia and Grandar from the woods where they waited to avoid being recognized by any Acolytes potentially awaiting their arrival. Once within the walls, Harelia tracked down Nara to deliver the letters from her sister Ellowen. Nara told Harelia that the weather had rolled in about six weeks prior, and that, while it may have been coincidental, a merchant selling trinkets and potions had come into to town only a day or two before the cold.
Grandar discovered that Tannis’ widow Layira still lived in Darok and quickly headed over to talk to her. She told Grandar that she believed Tannis to be dead. The last time she saw Tannis, he went out with Yago and Gowan and that they came back without him. Layira and Tannis met while she was a working girl. He got her pregnant and then left before the baby was born. Her son, now ten, is named Argle and could be found fishing outside of town.
We decided to track Argle down, but stopped to ask a local bartender about the merchant Nara spoke of. The bartender told us that the merchant goes by Sinnat and matches the description of the man who robbed us in Hrogath. He said the merchant generally comes into town every now and then and should be back in a couple days.
Once outside the town walls, we easily found Argle and asked him about his father. Argle showed us a "dragon" tooth his father had given him last week. He told us that his father “lives in the floor” and that he just told the same thing to the hooded stranger, who then gave him a bag of gold.
Realizing that Layira had lied to us, we turned to run back to town and were immediately ambushed by a group of bugbears. We killed three of them, one of which had grabbed Argle. The other three got away.
After saving him, we took Arlge back to his mother’s hut and quickly scared Tannis out of his basement hiding place. Maple interrogated Tannis, holding him upside down by that ankles. First, Tannis tried to bribe us with a religious artifact, a large skull with curving horns, he claimed to have stolen from a nearby tribe of lizardfolk. Apparently the lizardfolk were angry about this and wanted their artifact back. We guessed that the artifact may have been related to the pervading cold in the area. Tannis went on to tell us that Yago was also wanted by the Legion because together they stole the military rations from a hundred man unit. While all of this went on, Layira told Harelia and Seraphina that the merchant "with the scar", Sinnat, sells the “stuff” Tannis steals.
After determining that we would need to return the skull artifact to the lizard folk in order to end the cold snap, Falorin went under the house to retrieve it. Once he had it in hand, he took the tooth Argle had showed us earlier and fitted it into the missing socket in the skull. Falorin’s head immediately began to grow until it was the size of a keg. Since we knew of no way to fix him, Maple carried Falorin inside and we spent the night with Tannis bound and Layira and Argle held hostage. It was uncomfortable, to say the least.
Shortly after we went to bed, Maple noticed that the streets had gone quiet. He looked out and only saw a few people on the docks walking with torches. Flagging one of them down, Maple asked what was going on. The man had scarce replied when he was sucked down into the marsh. Immediately on alert, we decided that the lizardfolk had probably come for their religious artifact. We put the skull out on the doorstep with a note, explaining why we had it and that Tannis was a cocknobbler. The lizardfolk came out of the marsh, took the skull and letter, then disappeared from whence they came.
After that, we hung out in Darok for a week until Sinnat showed up, because apparently we had nothing better to be doing. At some point during that time, we bought Layira’s hut. No one is really sure why.
Finally Sinnat showed up. In keeping with our trend of choosing the most confounding option, we sent Maple to go talk to him and trick him into coming back to the hut. Once there, all guises were dropped. Sinnat made clear that he had the upper hand. After some negotiation, he agreed to give us a remedy for Falorin’s head and another “useful item” in return for us letting him go and giving him first right of refusal on any items we might find in our future adventuring. He took us outside and gave us an amulet of a serpent holding a pearl on a chunky gold chain. Sinnat said that Falorin would need to wear the amulet at all times to keep his head a normal size. The other item he gave us was a short sword named Sever, said to have been made by the God-Emporer three to four hundred years ago. Legend has it that the sword, once unsheathed, must end a life before the blade is returned to its scabbard, and that all wounds it makes are fatal. (Aside: The amulet worked to shrink his head, and now Falorin be pimpin’)
Harelia asked Sinnat about Olin-Gasir. Sinnat told us that he has seen the name on many tombs he has run across, typically ones with "lots of treasure". He said that the closest such tomb is near Vellen, just north of the Boar woods.
So naturally we all bought donkeys and kicked it back to Vellen.
A day by donkey outside Darok, we found a group of dead lizardfolk, apparently killed by humans. we followed the tracks into the swamp, coming to a hastily abandoned camp after about an hour. We found a pack left behind and some broken branches high in the foliage, but no other indication of what might have caused the party to abandon camp so quickly.
Deciding we wouldn’t be able to catch up through the forest and frozen swamp, we went back to the road in hopes of a sign that the slayers of the lizardfolk might have circled back further north. They did not.
We made it back to Vellen. Yago pretty quickly confessed to the thievery of which Tannis had accused him and Gowan. We decided Yago was dope and to drop Tannis off, tied up with a note, on the steps of the God-Emporer’s temple in Hrogath, because, oh yeah, we had strapped Tannis to the back of our fucking donkeys and hauled his ass back to Vellen with us.
Once unburdened of our lost Legionnaire, we decided to travel back to Darok to investigate the unseasonal cold.
Bugbears (Loot): 10 gp, 19 sp