Entering the Cairn
After examining the map they found in the abandoned house, the five adventurers determined it led to a seemingly unknown “Whispering Cairn”. They resolved to explore the cairn, hoping to find secrets, treasure or adventure. Due to the late hour, however, the adventurers decided to meet up in the morning in Buckler Lake’s town square.
The next morning saw a few miners, drunk from pay-day revelries, passed out on the street. Ariadne took advantage of this to pick a few pockets. Once the group met up, they took a quick detour to the Free City militia garrison on the edge of town. After a brief misunderstanding, Jikanai returned the armor, sword and shield he found at the abandoned house to Captain Toliver Trask. Trask thanked him and gave a reward of 25 gold for the return of his man’s armor.
After returning the armor, the adventurers sought out the Whispering Cairn. It took them three hours but they eventually found it, roughly thirty minutes to the north and east of the Buckler Lake. After clearing the brush covering the entrance and seeing to Kikao’s pony, they entered.
The cairn opened into a long corridor. The stone walls were covered in bands of runic designs while the floor was smooth, despite being covered in dust. As they traveled forward they came across a set of alcoves to the right and left. The right alcove was empty but the left contained a bedroll, old and molding. The adventurers concluded that some teen from the town had, in the distant past, spent the night in the cairn and moved on.
Further along, the group found a second set of alcoves, deeper than the first. The right alcove was completely blocked by rubble but the left held the remains of some sort of device. The base was granite and had an odd rune inscribed upon it. Jutting up from it, curving outward as if in the left, bottom half of a circle, was the broken remnants of some sort of frame. Careful examination revealed runes inscribed inside the groove of the broken frame and shards of a black, glass-like substance on the floor. Galena took several of the shards to study later.
Going further, the adventurers found their way blocked by a giant, thick mass of spider webs where the corridor was intersected by two more alcoves, larger than the first two. Since the right alcove seemed blocked by rubble they investigated the left, which contained a marble dais. When someone stood in the exact center of the dais, a mural painted on three walls of the alcove showed a clever trick of perspective, making it seem as if the person was in a chamber with seven corridors leading away from it; like spokes on a wheel. At the end of each mural corridor was a bright light, each a different color – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (clockwise, from left to right).
While they were examining the mural and the dais, the party was set upon by three wolves. Two seemed ragged and underfeed. The third was larger and had a nasty scar across his head. The battle was short and swift. The wolves were defeated but not until Ariadne was bitten and Kelp was savaged to the point of unconsciousness. Galena used a Cure Light Wounds spell to heal Kelp and wake him. She also took advantage of the opportunity to steal a little of the blubber layer under his skin.
Kikao examined the rubble in the other alcove and discovered it didn’t block the alcove off, as it first seemed. Instead, there was a narrow passage through. She squeezed past and discovered that the alcove was being used by the wolves as a den. A search of the area turned up a strange, indigo colored decorative lantern that didn’t seem to use oil and two concoctions of some sort – one milky white and one brown and thick. She brought them all back out to show her companions.
The party decided to rest. They dragged the largest wolf out into the sunlight and Galena skinned and butchered it. The hide went to Kelp while everyone got a chance to feast on wolf fillets. By the time they ate, night was beginning to fall so the adventurers went back to town. Kelp returned to the barracks to sleep. Ariadne went to work at the Feral Dog. Galena returned to her camp in the hills. Kikao bargained her storytelling skills for a night’s lodging at the Hungry Gar and Jikanai spent another night in the flophouse.
The next morning, Kelp went to see Jierian Wierus, the head of the local temple of Peridot. A strange cleric who believes chaos must be mastered through suffering, Wierus leads a cult of roughly 150 people in regular self-flagellation rituals. At first, Kelp tried to get on Wierus’ good side with a bit of flailing but when the cleric demanded 150 gold for healing, Kelp resorted to intimidation instead. Wierus cast a Cure Light Wounds on Kelp, restoring him to near perfect health.
The adventurers then went on to visit the gnome Tidwoad at his jewelry shop. While there, Ariadne saw how difficult stealing from the gnome would be. There were only two pieces of furniture – the glass display case at the rear of the shop and the stool that Tidwoad stood on behind it. That gave the shield guardian that stood on guard twenty-five hours a day a clear view of the entire shop.
Tidwoad examined the lantern and offered twenty-five gold for it. He also mentioned that he had seen a similar lantern at the house of Allustan Neff, a local wizard and brother of the town’s governor-mayor. Deciding not to sell the lantern, the group resolved to visit Allustan next.