With the autumn skies of 4th day of The Fading (September) behind them, an adventuring party was formed: with two paladins, Jesus (Brett) and Bal-darok (Dylan) accompanied by the two misfits, Rozzo (James) and Steeb (Steve). Speaking with the Paladin of Tyr, Tirlonde, it became clear that two objectives lay in their path towards the Winterspire Mountains.
The first, Tirlonde appealed to them that one of his fellow adventurers and accompanying squire (not unlike themselves) has been missing for weeks. He was tasked to head west of the Ogre’s crossroads to secure and rebuild the Dampwalk Bridge, a bridge that connects the bog and plains of Winterspire’s west.
The second, was a plea from the village of Hailstead, north of the Ogre’s crossroads. Once a quaint, Illuskan village, Hailstead has fallen under a presumed ‘curse’. The Thane (leader) of the village has been turned to stone and since then, so have three others! Tirlonde, hoping to establish a constable within town to avoid such happenings again, tasked the adventurers to investigate the village and choose one villager to uphold justice.
As the adventurers agreed that Hailstead needed the most assistance, they set out – but not before the half-orc Argeist hailed some of his lackeys. Argeist, increasingly aware of Tirlonde’s plot against him, offered them an opportunity to sunder the Paladin’s goals. If they are heading to Hailstead, he asked them to recruit one villager to the criminal cause. In doing so, Argeist would have eyes on all those who head towards the Winterspire Mountains.
Leaving the Moon Hills Inn behind them, they set out north towards Hailstead. Within hours, the savage land retaliated at their presumed trespass, as giant spiders crept from the nearby rocks in the Moon Hills and ambushed them. Despite their presumed threat, they were quickly and effectively dispatched – the queen spider herself becoming engulfed in a flaming chromatic orb by Steeb, the master gnomish wizard.
By 2am on the 5th day of The Fading, they arrived at Hailstead. Quickly stopping at the Northwind Lodge, they decided to rest for the night – but not without some antics, as a costumed Rozzo crept throughout the house and robbed the innkeeper, bearing witness to a dwarven night of passion! Waking from their slumber, they set out to investigate the town. Speaking with Olaf, they learned that the town believes the many outsiders, not unlike themselves, are the cause for their curse. Olaf, however, was a man of reason and offered them further assistance, if they needed it, and went inside his homestead.
Hoping to discover the cause on their own, they approached the statue of the Thane who stood looking surprised. Having purchased a single scroll of Flesh to Stone, Steeb conjured the spell and cured the Thane. Jolting from his recovery, he thanked them and revealed that all he could remember was a midnight stroll and a small creature, less than three feet tall, jumping out towards him. Returning to his homestead for rest, he left them to their own devices.
After exploring the far edges of the town and inquiring with a few other villagers, they investigated the Hunter’s homestead. Beneath a large bed, conspicuously in the middle of the room, they found a latched door leading into a cold cellar. Carefully stepping into the meat cellar, they noticed a large crack and burrow in the side of the wall. Anxious to vanquish his foes, Bal-darok peered within it, only to see a swarming flurry of bats emerge and three, panicked (and hungry) Cockatrice.
Lashing their beaks forward in chaos and their eyes glowing, they pecked all those in their path. With unfortunate luck, Jesus found a single peck turned his arm to stone – progressively spreading up his arm and eventually his whole body, leaving him petrified.
The remaining adventurers unleashed as much strength as they could muster and vanquished the remaining Cockatrice. Having found the source of the town’s ‘curse’ (presumably a few captured Cockatrice by some overambitious hunters) they met with Olaf and the Thane to devise a plan. They agreed to have Olaf, funded by his Thane, to retrieve multiple scrolls of Stone to Flesh and cure the remaining villagers of their affliction.
With that, all but Steeb traveled south to the Moon Hills Inn and arrived on the 6th day of The Fading. Bal-darok spoke with Tirlonde, requesting that he use his powers to return Jesus’ petrified body – but warned them it would take many days. Despite not recruiting any villagers for the cause of justice on behalf of Tirlonde and Argeist with no contact to establish his criminal contact, they were offered portions of their reward for, at the very least, vanquishing three frenzied Cockatrice.
As two days passed with Tirlonde and Bal-darok returning Jesus’ petrified body back to flesh, the sun rose again on 6am of the 8th day of The Fading…