Secret of Sumber Hills, Part 1

Princes of the Apocalypse, Episode 2

from Boult’s Logbook:

Sixth day after arrival in Red Larch -

I still feel strange writing all this out like some sage or minstrel, but the details of this mission seem significant enough to be recorded, like the features and weather noted in a ship’s log, that others may follow our path if we fail.

Crew Status:
Something in those old tunnels that collapsed in Red Larch caused a reaction in Kurt and myself. When the rest came back out of that door, D’vid also fell ill. The elves would call this an “allergy”, or something equally foolish, with their need to have fancy words for everything. In any case, the others were still too weak this morning to travel. I came around a few hours after sunrise – bless Gruumsh for his impatience. By that hour, the rest of the party had been asked by the Enclave to investigate a disappearance near the Feathergale Spire not too far away, and had found two more warriors for the trip who had their own business in that direction: two human men, Nighthawk and Kengo.

The road to Feathergale Spire was long and dull, winding through the Sumber Hills. No features of note. Along the way, we were attacked without warning by three men who flew upon giant vultures. They came at our formation from above on both flanks. Two of them and their vultures ended up surrounding Parzival, who fell in the combat, but the brief and brutal fight saw two of their number slain before the last one fled on his bird. The airborne soldiers wore blue uniforms under white and brown feather cloaks. Their emblem, Nuria recognized, was associated with one “Church of Howling Hatred” – the Cult of Evil Air. Rowan stabilized Parzival, so I chose to carry him as we continued, conserving our magical resources.

The road continued without notable features, save that it led out of the hills onto flatter terrain. The Spire we sought was visible from a great distance, rising some 30 paces high above the plains. Upon reaching Feathergale Spire, its base proved to be set in a deep chasm, perhaps 130 paces down. A few vulture-mounted guards circled above. A bell was mounted to a post across the chasm from the Spire’s gate and drawbridge. When we rang it, a woman – Savra, one of the Spire’s knights, greeted us from a window and invited us to join them for their celebration that night, lowering the drawbridge for us to enter. She escorted the crew to be introduced to one Thurl Merosska, Captain of Feathergale Spire and Lord Commander of its Featherborn Knights. The order protects this region, but its members’ garb was much like the men who attacked us on the road. While the others recovered from the fight, Agate, Nighthawk, and I surveyed the tower. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary – lodging for both knights and initiates of the tower’s order, kitchens, a great hall, an armory, a solarium, and stables for their vultures and gryphons. In the stables, we met the Lord Commander’s lieutenant, Braden, along with his gryphon mount Lionsbane.

The celebratory feast followed that night. It was as you would expect from a military order – disciplined opening, followed by loud speech, hearty food, and much drinking. Rowan shared the events of Red Larch with the soldiers, accompanied by her water art, to general approval. Our new crew member Nighthawk was rather insistent that the captain help him find some certain documents he suspected were in the Spire, but was dismissed as mistaken. We carefully inquired about the men we sought, and the captain seemed to have some information to share later in more private surroundings.

The festivities were interrupted by warnings from the lookouts that a manticore the order had been hunting for several weeks had again been spotted. Never ones for turning down a hunt, our crew borrowed vultures to join the knights. The manticore’s spine attacks forced down the order’s soldiers at the head of our hunting party, but then Rowan channeled some earth magic to force down the monster. I swooped in to keep it back from the rest of the party as it fell, striking it with necrotic power. A small storm of missiles, magical and otherwise, followed, grievously wounding the manticore as it fell, but Braden swept in beneath our crew, allowing the gryphon Lionsbane to finish off our prey.

As we returned to the tower with our prize, we observed one of the lookouts was the man who fled the afternoon’s battle. We must continue our great caution in dealing with this order. It is possible that the leadership is unaware of the Elemental Evil some of their order appears to be in dealings with, but we may also find ourselves in the jaws of a trap.

XP Award: 300 per character
No gold, downtime, renown, or magic items.


Playing around with different formats a bit. First person, in character(ish)? Whaddaya think?

Secret of Sumber Hills, Part 1

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