THE NORTHERN MENACE: LETTERS FROM TRILITH #8
Welcome to the Northern Reach! Join us in following an adventuring party through the eyes of their Wizard, Trilith, as they investigate the Northern Menace. Click here to read the backstories of the party!
Toilday, 3rd of Rainmoot, 1267
I think I need to start carrying a flask for days like this.
I can’t begin to imagine what the other planes are like with all these bizarre and horrible creatures in them! The beings are so strange. But then, perhaps that’s what they think when they are suddenly thrust into our plane. We must seem very strange and deadly to them.
After the fight in the basement with the flying fiends, we retired back to the bar where Delling fortified us with a stiff shot of much-needed whiskey. We decided we had better check out the traveler’s room without delay. Who knew what else he might have left behind.
So we wiped the yellow ichor left by those pesky flying creatures from our faces and went up.
Frey led the way with her trusty axe. They are such a funny couple, her and Dellis. The big man stayed below to make us lunch while his little lady pressed on to boldly face what might lurk in wait.
As we headed down the hall we heard something smash. Uh oh. Frey opened the door and shouted, “By Kord’s balls!” Have I mentioned that I really like that woman?
Well, the thing on the floor resembled an oily, grey, slithering bag of muck! It had busted up the bed and a bunch of the furniture. “That bed was new!” shouted Frey.
Spoken like a true innkeeper.
Robi took a look and said to Frey, “You have interesting tenants.”
Despite the destruction the creature had wrought to the room, I nearly burst out laughing. I didn’t know Robi had a sense of humor!
We went in after it. Antinua was the first to attack. Her longsword sliced into it and, well, you wouldn’t believe it, Dad, the damned thing separated into two. Each one moved to attack us. Really! I mean, what does that? It made my stomach flip over, and I wished for that flask.
Robi tried piercing one with his spear instead of cutting at it, but again the thing oozed apart into two creatures. Now we had three to fight! Geldion’s mace came down on one, and at least that seemed to do some damage without splitting it in two. Bludgeoning for the win.
Somehow these gobs of ooze pack a punch. One of them reared up and swung an appendage of sorts at Antinua as did the one in front of Robi, luckily neither hit. The very sight made my stomach contents rise. I’m pretty sure, had I lost it, it would have looked much like what we were fighting.
Really, Dad, the things made me think of the slugs we used to pluck from the garden and toss in the firepit back home. Since Robi had no blunt weapon to use against them, I threw him my staff and ran back downstairs to see if I could get a torch or something to burn them with. I was nearly out of spells and figured Dellis and Frey wouldn’t want me using burning hands in one of their guest rooms.
One lashed out at Geldion but hit his armor. Antinua dumped a trunk over one of the creatures and sat on it to try to contain it, like a mug over a bug. Robi couldn’t get the hang of the quarterstaff and missed the creature twice but Geldion splatted one with his mace. Ichor squirted over the walls and debris. Poor Frey is going to have a lot of cleaning to do!
Capturing a bug under glass only works because the glass is stronger than the bug. Not so in this case. With a crash, the trunk broke as the ooze tried to fight its way out. “That was an antique,” lamented Frey.
As I got a torch from the barkeep, Antinua clocked the one emerging from the trunk with a lovely walnut nightstand. “My Brother made that!” cried Frey, staring in dismay at the havoc to her room.
The ooze, however, kept moving.
Robi struck again and finally hit the ooze, hammering it. Geldion hit another, but it was still oozing. One of the oozes punches Antinua in the face, hard! She stumbled back, stunned, her face burnt with some sort of acid.
Great, acid slugs. Maybe what we needed was salt.
Thank the gods the other missed Robi. I kindled the torch in the fire. Antinua wisely withdrew before she fell down. Robi smashed one of them, splatting it across the floor. He swung at the last one, beating it up some more. Geldion hit it with his mace, then dodged away from its counterstrike.
I got there with the torch finally but was too winded to hit, and everyone was in the way. Robi hit it with the staff finally killing the last one.
Robi laid healing hands on Antinua. She protests a lot when he does, but I wonder sometimes if she rather likes it.
I looked around for another of those boxes or something like it. Under the ruins of the bed, I found a small box with glyphs. It had a black waxy seal that might have given way over time. Ingenious! A time-release method. I wonder how long the seal would last. How long ago were these creatures imprisoned? Days, weeks, hours?
We suggested Frey rip the place apart to make sure there aren’t any more of these items. We helped with the search and when we finished we found Birkir downstairs. No one else around town seemed to have anything left behind by the Traveler. He was very grateful to Geldion and Robi for saving his daughter.
After a great meal, I called Quenya to ask if he’d seen anything strange. All he had found was oodles of smelly fish-which he seemed to have rolled in. Ugh! We’ll have to have a conversation about that at some point. Between the fish and the ichor, I felt disgusting. Yuck.
Geldion did some healing on Robi and Antinua. Antinua got touched by both guys after one fight. If she weren’t so antisocial, I’d think she was getting hurt on purpose. Just kidding.
The Jarl, Ern appeared, dressed, at least, and joined the group. He told us he had sent people to check the northern farms and set people to guard the town. No one else had been attacked. I can’t tell you what a huge relief that was. My shoulders and stomach could finally unclench. I dared to hope that we had unearthed all the traveler’s ploys.
We headed over to speak with Geir. The day was overcast and blustery. We found Geir wrapped up next to the fire. He looked much restored.
He told us he and the initiates got to Iduna’s the night of the ceremony. She invited them in but had strange energy, and the place was a mess. She offered them food, then, out of nowhere, attacked them. She was unnaturally strong and killed the first one merely by throwing him against the wall. She knocked Gier out then gave him some liquid and took him to the basement. She rambled about sowing chaos and revenge. Geir must have been captive for a couple of days. We have no idea how long ago Iduna had been possessed.
Geir also mentioned seeing an old man with a staff. I think the man may have been using an Alter Self spell. But why not alter yourself to look the same each time? And what visage was he trying to hide?
We passed the afternoon with Geir and his parents, Ylfa and Bjorn. Geir was not up to traveling in the morning but said he would head back to the city in a couple days, along with the bodies of the murdered acolytes, Agnar and Orm.
The night was quiet and a bath was more than welcomed. We readied to go in the morning and headed south with full stomachs.
An hour out of the thorp we spotted a boar and let it go, despite Robi’s craving for bacon. At one point Quenya refused to scout ahead because of a golden eagle in the trees. He’s a smart bird. We passed the spot where we had killed the critters and as darkness fell, we saw home.
I had expected there to be evidence of battle preparations, but other than some increased guard presence, everything seemed normal. That’s crazy! Where are the soldiers and the ships? Where are the legions to fight the undead on the island? There seemed to be little going on. So it was with grave trepidation that I hurried off to the tower.
After telling the High magus the tale he suggested it was a shadow demon that possessed the aunt. Shadow demons don’t usually summon other creatures, but from my description of the ritual, it was likely trying to call forth a rock – a vulture-headed demon. So glad it didn’t succeed – as far as we know.
I mentioned that it seemed to know us and particularly Robi. The Magus suggested it might have been dispatched to the afterlife by Robi’s dad. I hope it is that simple. The locket the traveler gave to the girl was imbued with Demon Fever. How completely evil, especially to give it to a child! It’s unclear what the traveler’s goal was, other than sowing chaos. Seems to me like a distraction from the true fight, which should be on the island.
I asked the Magus how plans for the battle were progressing. He said that plans are unsure! He has lobbied for swift and forceful action but others are urging caution! Can you imagine! These idiots are willing to let the undead menace grow until it may become unstoppable! Have they any idea just how many creatures have died over the ages? Every single one could become an enemy without swift action!
I hate to think anyone could be in league with such creatures, but why else hesitate?
I’m exhausted and heartsick. Tomorrow I’ll find out who I have to knock some sense into. And then I’m off to the library. The magus has given me permission to do some research in the forbidden books area and I mean to take full advantage. There is so much I don’t know about necromancy and planar creatures. I won’t be handicapped by my own ignorance again.
But maybe I’ll buy that flask first.
Be safe, and know I love you,
What is the Northern Menace?? Click here for the next installment of this series, and get your own copy of the Dungeon Chronicle here!
On Medium? Read our Northern Menace RPG Adventure: Letters from Trilith and follow us there!