We made our way out of the city through way of the Black Goat Gate. I am constantly bewildered at the human mode of society. That some of their people live in luxury while others languish in squalor just seems evil. It’s a matter for another time, however, as we had business to see to.
The journey toward the Nemi Grove was uneventful and even somewhat pleasant. We held up within an old abandoned stable for the evening so that we can travel to the Grove during the day. During the evening during Slyph’s watch she awoke me from my meditations We found an angel statue that had been imbued with a moonglow spell.
The next morning we forded the marsh river to get to the island upon which the Grove lay. Our more knowledgeable travelers amongst our group realized we should not traverse within the water due to poisonous eels.
It seems more of the moonglow spell was placed upon the paths. I imagine they could almost make this place more beautiful under the glow of the moon. However, the travesty that is the grove itself is most heartbreaking. I think I’ll need to get a message home informing them of this horrid creation. Perhaps a druid of my own people can either fix these trees or in the least end their suffering.
Within the temple itself lay guardian angel statues. The magic that perhaps at one time animated them was long dormant but the two angels held hag eyes. The hags knew we were there… In the future we’ll need to figure out a way to combat such things prior to being seen. Especially if we are to be fighting hags.
The first cavern within the temple held a room filled with statues of the seven daughters. Crystal chandeliers lit up the room after being exposed to light. Hobgoblins lay within. The echos within the chamber echoed strangely.
We dispatched the hobgoblins with a fair amount of ease. Rennik managed to incapacitate another one. His instincts were to question the creature. I feel they were not misplaced though we were in something of a hurry. I worried that with us approaching Rohveka’s mother was in greater danger.
The next room was rather large. It held four corner statue with a central larger statue. They represented the different aspects of Ninkali. It looked as if quick pens for animals could be set up near the four corner pillars and the hoof prints disappeared from within the area. While we investigated the room we could hear booted feet coming from the doors from the north and to the south. Our scouts, useful beings, found a secret door behind the central statue. We went within quickly to avoid the hobgoblins.
The room beyond held what we determined to be an old witchs’ circle. Apparently it still held a great amount of power. Slyph and Rohveka commenced to messing with forces they aren’t familiar with. I do not know what it will take to instill the women with wisdom and caution. I fear it will be our death if they do not find such. I feel old and crotchety lately; odd considering that i’m often thought impetuous amongst my people. I almost know what it’s like to be a parent suddenly.
Of course it gets even worse. The two continue playing about the circle. I’m not sure about everything that transpired, but it ends up with Slyph and Rohveka swapping bodies. I probably got a bit testy with them but I feel their actions were highly unwise.
The energies being thrown around were a loud beacon drawing the hags to us. They began to attack the secret door with picks trying to get through. We ran through the far end door, a VERY complex mechanism that took both Genna and Connor a while to unlock. We barred the door behind us. Prior to Connor saw what was an Annis hag. These are the brutes of the hag world, nine feet tall and purple. They can still cast spells and change shape.
The next room had four pillars brimming with energy. Apparently they had enough energy to change the two back to their old bodies. The pillars had energy attuned to the magics of witches. It’s possible the hags are using chambers like this to steal the forms of others.
While unlocking the door at the far end of this room the floor collapsed. It was a thirty foot drop which landed them in a T junction in mud. We had Connor check the double doors leading west out of this room. We had a decision to make on which direction we would go. We decided on going below. We traversed a rickety wood walkway over water and found a double set of doors. We attempted to make a quiet entrance, a suspended bed and walkways over water. A woman was sketching something out of a mirror. I’m not sure if it was something out of a hag eye or herself.
The person sitting and drawing turned out to be Morriga with Drago sleeping in the bed. They admitted to moving slaves to someplace called Secommet the City of Chains. Apparently they claim to have 70 slaves along with Rohveka’s Mother. She claimed the slaves were in cages under water that could allow them to be drowned if she willed it. She could have been lying to us but there was no way to tell. She wanted ten gold a head to release the slaves and they would no longer slave within the Crown’s lands.
I was loathe to make any deal with these horrid creatures, but it didn’t seem like we had a choice. Our mercenary did not really like this, but I don’t think he really takes a long term view of things. There is no way we’ll let these slavers lay without retribution. At the moment I don’t see any other option.
She wished to use a teleport and summoning spell, but I forbade the use of magic to travel. I did not trust her to cast spells. This all felt foul indeed… This Morriga was able to get us through the other hag, Grizzy?, and the hobgoblins. We were given an address to contact in order to be fed information about other hobgoblins. I don’t feel good about any of this.
We managed to get back to Helion rather easily. They were wanting to know the location of Esmeralda Black, which was the reason they captured Rohveka’s mother. They wanted to know about the skin plate codex. Noone is sure why this woman is a danger.
I asked about the reality warping and she said the only way for a mortal to cast such a thing would require a full coven ritual. A full coven being thirteen witches. Human magic isn’t capable of this level of power and hasn’t been since the time of the “arc wells”. Apparently these were touchstones of incredible power. Apparently the witches destroyed the arc wells. She says there must be one that was unfound for there to still exist human magic.
William Croftsly got my word and mobilized the First Legion to deal with the temple and the hag operation. We did not promise not to inform the local authorities of their location and slaving operations to our allies. Thus, in the end, we kept our promise.
One of the members of the council to the Queen is working against us. Everything is coming together to become VERY disturbing.
Rennik does not really agree with our decision. I can fully understand his distaste but as I’ve written before I really don’t feel there was another choice. What I do know is, we’ll not rest until we’ve stopped these slavers…