Episode 21: A Helping Hand
With Keen still grievously wounded from their battle with the Gibbering Madness and Yuna suffering the exhaustion resulting from her spell sickness, the party decided to make camp and rest. As they were packing, a scruffy brown terrier emerged from the treeline carrying a severed hand in its jaws. The dog approached the party, presented the hand, and then refused to leave. The dog took to Ara immediately; Levani wanted to kill it, and Magnus wanted to play fetch with the hand.
The dog bit Magnus twice.
In the morning, the dog appeared to be leading the party to the southern forest, away from the road back to Whitebridge. The party discussed whether to follow the dog, or leave it to its fate and continue on their journey to the Stone Forest northwest of Whitebridge, to recover as much residium as they can and deliver it to Banu. In the end, Keen decided to follow the dog, and one by one the party entered the forest, a reluctant Levani trailing behind.
After a short while the dog led the party to the corpse from which the hand was severed, that of a human man dressed in basic leathers but with telltale markings of membership in the thieves guild. A search of the corpse revealed a statue formed of solid platinum worth thousands of gold pieces, and a hand-drawn map that appeared to mark the way to the Temple of the Moon, in the southern mountains.
Ara recognized that though the Moon was then considered an aspect of the Syf, one of the Five children of Bahamut commonly worshipped throughout Telisar, the Temple of the Moon predates the coming of the Dwarves to Telisar and refers to a more ancient moon goddess. He became visibly excited at the thought of an ancient temple and what wisdom might be found there. He had been unusually quiet since the encounter with the Gibbering Madness and its visions of insanity.
Levani saw that the statue itself bore some religious significance. Touching it caused her immense pain, though, and she got the distinct impression the celestial origin of the statue was not entirely compatible with her own connections to the celestial.
Yuna also inspected the statue and found that it seemed to have some special significance, though in her exhaustion she could not identify it. Still it seemed as though Yuna’s quest for a guide to help control her divine power might be furthered by investigating the temple.
The party elected to continue following the dog, which led them through the forest for most of a day. After another surprisingly quiet night of rest and a further half day of travel to reach the southernmost border of the forest, the party crossed into the foothills before the mountains. As they picked their way between rocky outcroppings and granite moors they were beset upon by three perytons, massive winged creatures something like a cross between an eagle and an elk. Ara’s keen senses saw the perytons diving to attack and the party avoided a potentially deadly stealth attack from above, and gave battle, killing one peryton and driving off the others.
The party stands now upon the crest of a stone ridge, catching their breaths and preparing to trek further up into the mountains.
Magnus kept the severed hand.
Doggo ex Machina: 1
Elven Survival Skill Challenge rating: Crushed
Quiet Nights: 2
RP Rating: Awesome!