Borderlands Campaign, Part V: Adamant Falls
Our heroes, having arrived at the besieged fort of Adamant Falls, took time to restock supplies and look around while they waited for the riverboat. At the barracks common room, Lorun met a fellow bard, Bartelby, who won Lorun’s magic cloak in a spirited (yet rather lopsided) musical contest. Suspicions rose, however, as Lucien spied the bard making a secretive late night rendezvous with someone unknown. The next day, the team engaged him in conversation, goading him to let slip his affiliation with the Hand of Naarash. In the raucous brawl that ensued, our heroes dodged flying daggers, parried axes, and withstood harmonic chords to shake the soul from Bartleby & his thugs; while they hacked, pounded, and grasped their tricky enemies with sword, Morningstar, and conjured claws of ice. Sir Pikeford and company were alerted to the spy, who took his own life by removing his Naarash talisman. Lorun recovered his cloak, and picked up the bard’s fine golden harp to replace his own homemade 2-string mandolin.
Lucien’s and Alethea’s research into old journals and tomes revealed that the talismans worn by cultists they’d encountered likely contained chips of a massive infernal stone called the Eye of Naarash. It forms a mystical bond between the cultist and the stone, fortifying his fanaticism and feeding off his evil deeds, possibly alerting the temple of the cultists’ actions & condition as well.
When the riverboat arrived, Kaegon decided to stay and defend the fortress, where his military skills would be most needed. Alethea, Lorun, and Darious, now joined by the priest, Lucien, climbed the dozen or so flights of stairs to the upper levels of Adamant Falls, where a tunnel led to a small grotto that serves as an underground boat dock, protected from the torrential river. There they met Glasur, the dwarven helmsman, unloading what few supplies he could find for the fort. To their surprise, the riverboat, used neither sail nor oar for propulsion, relying instead on a pair of magnificent giant pike harnessed to the prow.
They made their way upriver from the falls, great fish pulling steadily through the canyon against a mighty current. There they came upon a village being put to the torch by human and goblin cultists. With volleys of arrows from either side, and a bold amphibious assault prepared by an explosion of fire summoned by the wizard, our heroes vanquished their fanatic enemies, and saved the last few villagers from a burning hovel. With little more that could be done there, and with the Pillars of Night temple just days away, our heroes embarked once again up the river, but could not shake the eerie feeling of being watched.