SUMMARY: The Trio, sent out on a seemingly simple bounty, is instead thrust into the discovery of an ancient ruin and marked by the Gods!
Characters in play: Elwyn Archer — Virtuous Monk of Onus, Raizel — Sociopathic Freebooter, Fernando Sylvio — Mind-addled Runaway Slave
- At The Ozark’s Mistress, the Trio receives a job from their Bronze Slick contact, Caruso: Find an Elven thief, capture him, and reclaim the Dwarven vase he stole.
- Rival Hunter and general loud mouth, Rickard Dabney, busts into the Inn bragging about his recent capture of Bully Bromden. As per usual, he gives the Trio a hard time about their lack of success.
- They start their investigation at the source: Furnished Farmine’s. Aside from trying to part them from what little gold resides in their coffers, owner and shopkeep Yumul Farmine informs them that the thief had been an erratic sort after he was told the vase wasn’t for sale. He stole it, busted through the door, and sped out the city’s North Gate.
- At the North Gate, Raizel chats up Gate Guard Billiom, an old acquaintance of his, about the Elf they’re looking for. Billiom tells them of the Elf’s crazed look and how he bowled over another guard that was trying to stop him before heading further North into the Red Woods .
- Not having covered his tracks, the Trio came upon the thief with ease as he stopped at a creek for water. Raizel and Sylvio hid in the bushes, respectively readying an arrow and a well-worn axe, as Elwyn approached the bounty in falsehood as a traveling monk.
- Things did not proceed all too smoothly and the mark ended up with an arrow in his side. The arrow was non-lethal, though, and the Elf (who, for the record, turned out to be a Half-Elf), introduced himself as Layard, struck a deal with the Trio: If they help him get to where he’s going with the vase, they will be rewarded handsomely. Handsome reward is far more appealing than a hard day’s wages (not to mention that they can just kill their mark and take the vase back at any time). They agree to the deal.
- Layard states their destination: “The Ruins of Ho’Kem”. Sylvio recognizes the name from Dwarven stories his owners would tell to their kids; fables about ancient holy temples, dedicated to their God Ho’Kem. Being a God of prosperity, there was thought to be treasure in each one as tribute for the deity. The Half-Elf insists it is real and leads them on.
- Several leagues into a cave, of which the entrance had been completely camouflaged in forest overgrowth, the group comes upon dozens of meters of intricately carved Ancient Dwarven writings. Having been a slave to the Don Dwarves in the Mida Country, Sylvio had enough base understanding of the “troll-dunged gibberish” to find a hidden door and bypass it.
- Beyond the door lied a completely undisturbed shrine, and disregarding the weary cautions of the Trio, the Half-Elf placed the vase upon it. The room shook, the vase shattered, and Layard smiled pleasantly as a fetid zombie of a creature hacked his head off from behind.
- A clumsy battle ensued between the Trio (who were now cursing their Gods about the obvious nature of this predicament) and a small group of now-arisen, shambling undead; their worst threat being the most twisted of the bunch who wielded a Shamanistic stave of sorts.
- Their lengthy battle ended in victory, and they proceeded to dismember the bodies and squash the heads. They checked in on their guide— And, yes. Definitely dead as well. They sever the head for proof of their “capture”.
- Their bounty is dead and their reclaimed stolen goods have been smashed making them no longer reclaimable—-But, wait! What is it that now sits where the vase once was? A Golden Skull?! It has strange markings on the back of it that none of the group can readily identify.
- As they’re deciding what to do next, the group notices similar tattoos on each of their necks. Each of the Trio claims that it wasn’t there before. One more mystery to throw on the pile…