The party’s journey so far had taken more of a toll on them then they had anticipated. Elygyn had not been with the party up to this point due to an assignment at school, but arrived on horseback as quickly as he could.
With very little prodding Edryc Bleu declared a day of rest, insisting they travel that night to make up for lost time. As the day waned into dusk, Edryc carried Morgan O’Malley out from the ruined manor to the coach they had been using. Their mysterious passenger left the coach and removed her cloak, revealing herself as a middle aged Elf. Edryc dressed the unconscious Morgan in the cloak, effectively disguising her. Edryc then informed them that they had, in fact, been the group assigned to the actual ambassador from Univerde and introduced them formally to Ambassador Daelynnwho very cordially and quietly thanked them. Daelynn cast dispel magic and one of the horses was revealed as a hippogryph which she mounted behind Edryc, flying east towards their original destination.
The party set out with Gaelwyn at the reins of the 4 horse coach, with Elygyn and Strawberry on horses. Hawkyns and Allynn were on the boot of the wagon, and since his horse had been killed, Rabbye accompanied Morgan O’Malley inside the wagon. Gaelwyn changed the coach speed at regular intervals, resting the horses yet keeping a respectable pace to their goal. As they traveled the well worn trade route, the scenery changed from fields to light woods to forests and ravines and cliffs. Hawkyns and Rabbye felt uneasy and looked up to see several winged beasts floating in circles above them. There were enough to blot out the many stars as they circled nearer and lower. Spurned on by their shouted warnings, Gaelwyn urged the horses into a gallop as the monsters attacked. Hawkyns miscast a light spell, lighting up the wings of one of the creatures. It hit the dirt, thrashing, clawing at its own eyes and screaming; it’s partner giving the bright light a wide berth. Elygyn stopped his horse abrubtly, swinging at the monster that remained but losing his balance, severly gashing open his horse’s neck, causing it to reel and get it’s head stuck in the rear coach wheel!
Gaelwyn felt the jerk of the wagon, barely stopping it just as two more of the creatures swooped in and plucked her from the driver’s seat. Hawkyns was picked up as well, but Allynn rescued him with his fireball wand. Hawkyns wasn’t too happy about getting singed eyebrows and clothes however. A pair attacked Strawberry as well, but he killed one outright and the other jumped on his horse with him. Rabbye tried in vain to fire off arrows from within the coach, missing both Elygyn’s and Gealwyn’s attackers. He decided to light the lanterns in an attemtp to ward off their attackers. Allyn cast a magic missile at on of the Gaelwyn’s attackers but it wasn’t enugh to get it off the elf maiden. Between screaming, she went to bite her assailants and one of them bit at her as well, missing and biting it’s own wing. Realizing they were getting away with her, Elygyn shot an arrow that pierced one of the monsters and got him to drop away from Gaelwynn. Rabbye’s quick thinking and agility provided light that warded off the other beasts as the ring of light around the coach became too bright for them. Gaelwynn was released and took a small tumble but landed lightly as she could, avoiding serious injury. Strawberry broke his remaining opponent before it could flee with the survivors. The party was able to continue on their journey and continue to the estate.
Syruss Shortroots welcomed them to his home and offered all the amenities he could provide, which, given his apparent wealth, were considerable. He made sure that Morgan O’Malley was taken care of and inspected for any serious maladies, (namely lycanthropy). He had fields of hippogryphs in training and younger stages around him. The group enjoyed lavish baths and meals as an opportunity to relax. Strawberry and Gaelwyn both discovered they very much appreciated Syruss’ apparent generosity and Strawberry donned an auspicious set of tuxedo style clothes while Gaelwynn went with a very daring, very revealing dress of elven make.
At dinner, the group was introduced to some other guests that included businessmen in the area. One of those guests they quickly recognized as the halfling at the swamp ruins from two months earlier! Chowder Roughsole. They also met Syruss’s wife Selphyna Vengencya Shortroots, who had helped Chowder escpe them in the ruins of Column. They were able to calmly continue the meal but Chowder and Selphyna had recognized them as well! Whether paranoid or astute, Strawberry and Rabbye convinced the others not to drink the wine served with dinner.
Gaelwyn took special notice that despite the variety of servants and guards, there were no female Elves in Syruss’ employ. She also noticed that Chowder Roughsole appreciated her choice of wardrobe for dinner and informed the group she intended to flirt with him and see what could be learned from him. It was decided Rabbye would then sneak up to Chowder’s room and try an uncover anything usable. As dinner wore on and guests excused themselves, Gaelwynn and Chowder left the dining room to go for a walk by the stables, and much to Chawder’s chagrin, Strawberry tagged along. Selphyna had already excused herself and Elygyn made a very awkward attempt to accompany her that set Syruss Shortroots on edge, even after Selphyna brushed Elygyn off.
As the dinner party wound down and Syruss departed the chamber, Allyn and Elygyn went back to their rooms to try and maintain a sense of normal appearences while Rabbye snuck off to do his exploring. Something that struck all of them as odd was the silence of the manor and the lack of servants coming to clean up after the dinner. Then, they started finding guards and servants asleep in the corridors…
Outside, Chowder walked Gaelwyn down to the stables and paddocks, growing more and aggressively insistant that they “lose the dwarf”, Strawberry, who was shadowing them. Gaelwyn realized she wasn’t going to learn anything from Chowder and he grew increasingly sinister, until, fed up, he snapped his fingers and seemed to summon a gang of elven warriors from all around the,. Ambush! Recognizing them as Shadow Elves, Gaelwynn ran and started screaming like mad. She ran into the much irritated Strawberry and dragged him along as they were pursued.
At the manor house, Syruss confronted Elygyn, Allyn and Rabbye – who, spotting a mushroom growing incongruously from the wall next to Chawder’s room, declined to go in. Syruss demanded to know what had happened to his wife and why all of his servants were unconscious. A commotion and screaming from outside, led them to a balcony over the main doors where Gaelwynn and Strawberry were running from 6 assailants. Rabbye and Elygyn began firing arrows to cover their friends and Strawberry turned to brawl with the Shadow Elves, putting two down into the dust. Syruss opened the gates and escorted Gaelwyn back to her room quickly so she could collect her weapons. Upon returning, He found Selphyna about to help the shadow elves and Syruss challened her.
When it dawned on Chowder Roughsole that his accomplices would probably lose this fight, he ran as fast as his short legs and floppy feet could carry him. Gaelwynn became unhinged and launched herself after him, the group helping her pursue the halfling. As a sudden storm raged, they chased him into a hedge maze but he slipped away in a hole in the ground blocked by a seemingly impassable wall of rock.
Returning to the main gates of the Syruss’ manor house, they found the sudden storm must have been a magical duel between Syruss and his wife Selphyna. Selphyna had clearly lost, unconscious and face down on the flagstones. Syruss, very grim and quietly furious, ordered everyone back inside.
They ran to Chowder’s room, setting off the mushroom which screamed loudly. Syruss knocked it from the wall and Gaelwynn threw open the door, only to be grabbed by an enormous, sticky tongue. The group hacked it from her and slammed the door shut. Syruss was very unhappy.
This adventure was entirely homemade with the exception of the map of the manor which came from: www.dragonsfoot.org