The Shattered Circle Pt 1

Yusif ibn-Ahmed, the eccentric merchant who lives in Estoque, seeks the party of intrepid adventurers early in the morning after the night of the large celebration. He asks them if, though he knows they have their own destination, they’d be willing to help him. He is headed out to the small shepherding village of Tillo, not the very north-western boarder of Saragón, to escort a Noblewoman to Torre de Manzanas. Before he can even really try to sweeten the deal, the Honourbound Dreigh offers the group’s help.

Through the plains, the terrain starts to turn into gently rolling hills. One night, before getting to the village, the small caravan makes camp just off the trade path, in the shadow of a hill that has a strange henge-like structure. It is on this night that Roen’Thagur, during his watch, spies a a mysterious black unicorn. Before he can really investigate, it seems to blink out of existence. He keeps it in his back pocket for the time being and, after the rest of them wake, the caravan makes their way to the village of Tillo.

The village easily has more sheep than people and, aside from an inn, the only real source of merchandise is travelling caravans making stops to the remote village. However, the village is all abuzz with some strange recent happenings. It seems that a young shepherd named Kurt Charbonnier went missing some nights ago when he passed his sheep through the henge trying to save some time. (Normally, the shepherds in the area steer clear of the mysterious place!) And since he hasn’t returned, villagers and travellers alike have seen all manner of strange creature out by the henge. Including a black unicorn! This piques Roen’s interest, and he presses some of the villagers for information.

Meanwhile the rest of the party explore the small village square, through the various caravans stopped. Yusif ibn-Ahmed introduces the Noblewoman, Queláni d’Elvina, to Dreigh, and soon thereafter to Roen, Roxy and Dren once they are all rounded up. Meeting the Noblewoman is difficult for Dreigh, for on one hand Queláni is an absolutely beautiful half-elven woman, on the other hand, Kyrosh d’Elvina was one of Dreigh’s close friends and a comrade in arms. One of the Honourbound to die in the betrayal by Kyorl. Unsure how to act, Dreigh only expresses the utmost respect toward the woman, while keeping his distance. Although Kyrosh was human, there is a definite family resemblance, though Kyrosh never mentioned a sister or noble birth! However aloof Dreigh wishes to remain, the Noblewoman makes a beeline for him immediately. She recognizes that he is an Honourbound and, though he seems not to be travelling with his comrades, he none the less has an Inheritor and two adventurers with him. She asks that he and his group help the villagers. When they agree to after delivering her, she insists that Don Luis is capable of waiting, and that this is of the utmost importance!

After gathering a little more information from the locals, the group head to the strange circle of stones, about a mile outside the village proper, to begin their investigation.Upon reaching the circle, they find the Devil’s Step, mentioned by one of the locals, and soon find their way to a recently uncovered set of stone stairs leading deep into the earth. Light on provisions, the group has to return to Tillo to find torches and some other random exploration gear. A merchant also sells Roen a fancy belt, which he gifts to Dreigh. No one is interested in the Merchant’s supposed flying carpet, however.

Now properly outfitted for a subterranean adventure, the party heads down the long, winding staircase. They find themselves in a room filled with blue smoke, so thick that they cannot see more than a few feet in front of them! Groping around, they discover a trap! The four of them fall, each narrowly missing spikes in the heart of the pit. It seems Kurt Charbonnier was not as lucky. The party get out of the pit and find there is a door, fashioned like a dragon, spewing the blue smoke. Roxy attempts to use her legacy to pass through, but a magic barrier prevents her attempt. The door, upset by the attempted trespass, spews a green, poisonous fog. Only Dren, the elf archer, was far away enough to not inhale a small amount. His luck turns south quickly, though, as he finds himself stabbed by something in the dark! Two arrows loosed bring the assailant down, and the party find themselves face to face with a strange, pallid creature that looks almost like a cross between a human and a spider. He was holding a dagger fashioned from a large, single tooth.

Unsure what to do next, the party find a few doors. One set is locked, though not magically. Another leads to a small hallway covered in a thick white webbing. Curious, Roxy attempts to cut through some of the webbing, but finds herself stuck! Two more creatures resembling the stabby creature in the previous room emerge from the webbing, chitting and pressing swords into Roxy’s neck. The language barrier is soon broken when, after setting some weapons down and relieving Roxy of her sabre, another of the creatures exits the webbing. This one speaks some of the surface language, though not much. He convinces the party to stand down and asks that they talk to the leader of the creature. Curiously, Dren is forced to stay behind. Called a word none of the party knows, “drow“, the creatures clearly do not trust the one with pointy ears.

The party is brought through a few rooms, carefully guided through the webbing, until they are brought to Uelwen, the leader. To either side of her are massive spiders that seem to follow her command. She explains that she and the other Chitines are refugees, escaped slaves. Through the discussion, they learn that the race called drow are their slavers, and the chitine guards mistook Drn for one of them. They also explain that though they are not looking for a fight, their original leader, Caullum, is. He’s become obsessed with a stone he found, and has been gathering other chitines for reasons she doesn’t entirely know. She asks that the adventurers help her and her people, some thirty chitines in all, find a new home on the surface world. The party is unsure they can help, so ask that she wait and they be allowed to gather their Noble friend who has a better idea of where they could stay. Roen and Dren stay behind while Dreigh and Roxy gather Queláni for assistance. She is willing to help them move through Saragón territory, to a place in Bosque de las Sombras that is secluded enough for them to have their own place, but also still within the Barrier. Together with Queláni, the adventurers and the entire community of chitines make their journey. It takes a few days, and in that time, the adventurers and the Noblewoman learn of the chitines, and the chitines learn of the surface world. The party is also surprized to discover that Queláni can cook.

Saying their farewells, the party leaves the chitines to found their new home, while they make their return trek to Tillo. The journey will take less time with such a smaller group. One night into the journey back, the camp is attacked by bandits! Dreigh, having been on watch, makes quick work of two of them so precisely that one of the bandits pees himself and runs. The others try to take him, but Dren and Roen help out. Strangely, Roxy manages to sleep through the entire encounter. When the battle ends, the bandit who tried to run is sleeping. Perhaps some sorcery has placed him in that state, but with Roxy now awoken, they adventurers tie him up and try to interrogate him. He isn’t forthcoming with information other than they thought the camp was an easy mark. While Dren is on watch, the bandit tries to get away, but an arrow make quicker work of him than taking him back to Tillo for trial would have.

The party return to the village early in the morning with time to get a hot meal. Dreigh has an uncomfortable conversation with Queláni, wherein he reveals that only he and the one who betrayed the order survived the attack on his band of Honourbound. She thanks him for the information and excuses herself back to her room. Unsure how to proceed, he gathers the rest of the party and they make their return to the henge, hoping to at least get to the bottom of the compounding mysteries below.

What lies in store for our intrepid adventurers remains to be told…

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Author: Miranda

Queer gamer girl. Writer. Nerd. Probably a kitty. She/her. Nicknames include: Mira, Kitten, Nerd, Princess Candy Angel

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