After two weeks of rest and recuperation during which several of the heroes busied themselves with personal tasks, the party reunited. The lust for adventure burnt brightly in their chests, and tomorrow the tides would be right for a trip into Gloamhold.
Before departing, Artur shared a rough map of the place he had secured from his priesthood while Horsa related the names of some locales he had discovered. It seemed such places as the Sentinels, the Seven, the Wailing Citadel and the Dripping Span all lurked in the darkness of Gloamhold's outer reaches. What horrors lurked within, Horsa could not say.
The morning of Anoriul 14th dawned slightly cloudy, but Laina pronounced sailing conditions to be good. The party piled their equipment aboard her small fishing vessel, Wave Dancer, and Laina cast off.
Three hours later, as the sun hung at its zenith, the party approached the Murkwater's gaping black maw. The Sea Sprite was gone–broken up by Hard Bay's merciless tides–and naught was left of the party's previous adventure but a patch of splintered wood and shredded sails drifting restless upon the swell. (Perhaps, thought several of the, this was an omen of thing to come.)
Many rocks–their presence betrayed by white water and breaking waves–lurked just below the surface. Laina proved an able sailor. Aided by the good weather and the high tide, she adroitly manoeuvred the boat toward the Murkwater.
In but a matter of moments, the party were finally in Gloamhold. Wave Dancer–propelled by the inbound tide–shot into the Murkwater's channel, and a dim gloom enveloped the heroes. Ahead the heroes could make out the foundations of a bridge long since fallen that once arched over the water. Just beyond a small landing jutted from the cave wall. Laina made for the landing and quickly pulled alongside. Seaweed of ill aspect wreathed the stairs leading up into an unknown network of passageways and tunnels beyond.
Grandsilver Tongue brought forth his dancing lights and sent them cavorting off in the darkness. He discovered several things:
- Four huge statues–the first of which was identified as a troglodyte–standing in niches overlooking the Murkwater.
- Beyond the statues, the river branched and the heroic bard could just make out another–larger landing and what could be an intact bridge arching high over the northernmost river channel.
Debate raged among the heroes. Eventually, they decided to explore the nearer complex before pushing deeper into Gloamhold. Several of the heroes were worried about being cut off from the outer world by the various foul beasts undoubtably lurking nearby. It seemed prudent to end any such lurking threat before it could materialize.
Donning their armour and girding themselves for danger, the heroes planned their assault, But first, a huge clump of seaweed–later identified as Kraken Blood Weed–filled the stairs. Colzo and Horsa blasted it repeatedly with their fire magics, eventually clearing a path for the heroes.
Advancing they quickly gained the chamber at the head of the stairs. Several passages led away deep into the Mottled Spire. Heading north, the party discovered another chamber. This one had been recently used as a camp. Luther found many tracks here. Heading north Artur–bravely leading the way–discovered a set of stairs spiralling upwards. These led to a watchtower–one to the Sentinels declared Horsa–jutting out over the Murkwater's mouth.
As the party debated their next move, the blast of a horn shattered the quiet. This was Colzo's horn leant to Laina in case of emergency. The heroes dashed back down the stairs, and back to the boat. Here they discovered a gaggle of dirty, unshaven men shouting and waving their weapons at Laina who bravely held them at bay with her spear. Several of the men carried crossbows while other clutched short swords. Artur–the first to arrive on the scene–brandished his axe and shouted for the men to stop what they were doing...