The Ambition of Ravens
The Seventh Knot arrives the next day, just as Tiadora said. They too seem to think they’ve travelled here with Tiadora. Elise Zadaria has already received her orders. “It is my intention in the next few months to have spies set up in every inn, tavern and anywhere else adventurers and explorers might congregate. When you do find the Horn of Abaddon, contact me. For those groups I can’t personally dispatch, I’ll send a messenger with any information I can gather.”
Pressed on what her plan is, Elise reveals that she plans to create for Farholde a serial killer. That serial killer will begin to hunt down likely adventurers and explorers one by one. She will try to make this murderous endeavor look like accidental deaths for as long as she can, but she is sure that facade will eventually fail. When it does, the serial killer guise will allow her to terrorize anyone foolish enough to interrupt the work of the Ninth Knot. Farholde is about to be bathed in blood. She is certain Tiadora would be delighted. Her plan is a good one.
The Return of Grumblejack
After the plan has been hatched, the PCs are greeted by a face some of them had hoped never to see again. Grumblejack the Half-Ogre lumbers off the ship, with a greatsword on his back, and plate armor across his chest, and begins a purposeful walk to the group. He pulls his sword out, but instead of striking out at the Knot as some might have expected, he drives it into the ground, pledging his fealty to Sir Bruce of Vein.
Grumblejack had a deep admiration for The Bruce, and even though the group thought they had abandoned Grumblejack, dooming him to certain death, they find that he was in-fact delighted just to be broken from his bonds and told of the Dark Lord Asmodeus! He finished killing what ever guards he could (perhaps stopped for a tasty snack of burnt flesh) and made his way into the wild, seeking adventure and divine inspiration. There he found his place in the ranks of the northern bugbear hordes the group had unleashed upon the realm. He quickly established himself as a fierce warrior and knew exactly who to thank for his chance at battle.
Tiadora discovered Grumblejack amongst the chieftains of the horde. She knew right then that he was the perfect addition to the Knot, and gave him passage. He signed the Pact of Thorns, officially binding himself to the Nessian Knot.
With their newest party member in tow, the 9th Knot headed back to the secret tunnel under the manor. A few of the party decided to go looking for clues as to the whereabouts of the Horn.
The Search for the Horn
They recall that Aiden Kael, an elf ranger who was the sole member of the Fourth Knot of the Pact of Thorns had led a group of Iraen fire cultists into the Caer Bryr, seeking the Horn of Abaddon. They were told by the Cardinal that he found it, but vanished. Some rumor mongering about him reveals that he prepaid for a room at “The Wandering Friar” in Newchurch.
When the PCs arrive, his room is a week from being declared abandoned and cleaned out. They offer to pay Kael’s 25 gp overdue bill, and the innkeeper let them into the room no questions asked.
Inside the room they discover Kael’s map to the Horn laying out on a table weighed down by a dagger. Besides a few worthless personal effects, his emergency funds are also hidden under the mattress in a sackcloth bag (contianing 132 gp in mixed coinage). Written on the map is the word “Jurak”, which they feel is the first place to check out.
Encounter: One-Eye the Sabertoothed Tiger
On their way into the Bryer, they are attacked by “One-Eye”, a massive sabertoothed tiger and former druidic animal companion. He had been attacking messengers to the Horn of Abaddon until this final encounter with the Ninth Knot.
During the battle, he tried to eat The Doctor, and was blasted with fire by Olar. Finally, The Doctor managed to slash his belly with a scalpel, spilling his entrails and drenching himself in blood. The doctor examined the body and found the source of his “one eye”. One of his eye sockets was home to a silver pommel of a dagger, which had been driven into his skull in a previous encounter.
Encounter: Jurak the Eldest
The PCs searched out the location of “Jurak”. It turns out that Jurak the Elder is a Treant that has been guarding the Horn of Abaddon for centuries.
Jurak did not attack on sight, but instead approached with slow warning: “You have happened upon the Horn of Abaddon,” he lectures, “a cursed place once of great corruption. It is my sacred charge to see that evil never again takes root here.”
It was not until he got closer and saw that the group openly wears unholy symbols. Without hesitation, Jurak slams and tramples any foe he can reach and throws great slabs of ruined masonry at those he can’t. Once he is bloodied, he summons help from the forest and is joined by two more Treants, and one other spirit who has yet to arrive.
Jurak is fanatically devoted to keeping his sacred charge and fights to the death.
Encounter: Calliaste Shanda
Calliaste Shanda (pronounced Call-ee-ahstay SHAWN-dah), a dryad with skin of ebony wood and hair of long flowing green leaves was called by Jurak’s treants and found that he has been slain. She is immediately filled with loss and rage. She will not rest until she destroys the culprits.
Calliaste then shaped changed into her true form, a lillend, and this is where the adventure log ends.