Dark Tides of Salinmoor

Session 2: And All the Count's Men

In which the wizened sage and proud hunt master reveal their true colors.

Given several leads during their initial audience with Lord Dunraven and his advisor, Darby, the group decides to seek out a paladin of Solare named Sorril Venir at an inn called the Silver Sunrise in northern Flotsam. They learn from Sorril that he is following a trail of murdered nobles that has led from the city of Lirhaven to the borderlands of Salinmoor. The most recent murder occurred in the village of Saltmarsh, just a few days’ ride west of Flotsam.

The party offers to accompany the paladin, and he accepts. The group will depart for Saltmarsh in the morning.

When several party members including Davin, Forge, and Thorondir return to Dunraven’s manor to retire for the evening, the others choosing to sleep at the Silver Sunrise, they find the place in a state of chaos. Darby the sage has been murdered in his study and guards are scouring the manor.

Davin and Thorondir investigate the sage’s office and corpse while Forge chases down Avery Lorchester, who is lurking in the manor halls very suspiciously. The former find that the sage was studying scrolls pertaining to a cursed mask that Davin has asked him to unearth information about, and that in doing so his eyes were burned from their sockets and his blood was poisoned with inky blood ichor. Forge corners Avery Lorchester, who admits to being present as Darby seemed to go insane in mere minutes while reading the scrolls.

Thorondir tucks the blood soaked, nearly illegible scroll into his cloak to be examined later.

Hunt Master Creed, who has previously offered to allow the party to join him on a hunt, is prepared to depart for the Dreadwood in the morning, despite the previous evening’s events. Most of the group declines and prepares to depart with Sorril, but Thorondir’s duties compel him to join the hunt master and meet his companions at a later time.

It is only during discussion with Sorril Venir that the group realizes that the scroll Thorondir carries may be a great danger to the elf and to all of Salinmoor. They part ways with the paladin and agree to meet him in Saltmarsh, catching up with the hunting party at day’s end at the borders of the Dreadwood.

Night falls. From the forest come the terrified shrieks of a pair of Creed’s hunters, both collecting firewood, fills the night. The company scrambles to arm themselves and delve into the woods, where they find a mortally wounded hunter amidst the trees. Snarls and screeches echo around the party, and they realize they’ve walked into a goblin ambush. Short, wiry goblin snufflers and hulking, savage goblin brutes attack the heroes, who fight alongside Creed and his hunters until the goblins are defeated.

Creed hangs goblin corpses from tree branches by their feet, cutting their throats to bleed them dry as if they were wild game. His companion, a hunter named Micah, is safe thanks to Cyrus’ divine healing magic—but the second hunter, Daneen, is still missing, dragged deeper into the Dreadwood. The heroes convince Creed to pursue his lost ally, following a trail of blood and discarded belongings until it becomes clear that the second hunter has been killed by the goblins.

Long, low howls are heard, miles away but drawing closer. Folk tales and forest lore are filled with stories of the worgen: vicious, lupine beast men that mercilessly ravage intruders into the Dreadwood. The company retreats to their camp, where they sleep fitfully to the sound of distant howls.

At morning’s first light, Creed and his men are mounted upon their steeds and ready for the hunt. A half-day trek brings the party to a long, deep gully with a wide stream meandering through it. Riding upstream, the group arrives at a waterfall and the hunt master points out their quarry: a pair of unicorns.

Creed draws his bow and prepares to chase down the creatures. His command to his horse startles the unicorns, which run. Before the hunter can pursue, Thorondir has drawn his bow and aimed it at Creed. The elf refuses to allow the unicorns to be hunted.

Heated words are exchanged, during which Creed threatens to hang Thorondir from the trees much like his goblin enemies the evening previous. It is only the calming, level-headed reasoning of Greighar that prevents the two men from engaging in a battle that one of them would not emerge from alive. With the unicorns long gone, the company rides from the forest and breaks camp, returning to Flotsam.

Creed warns Thorondir that he never wishes to see the elf’s face during one of his hunts again, a menacing tone in his voice. The sentiment is returned, and the heroes part ways with Creed and his hunters—heading westward toward Flotsam.

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