The Coming of the Astar Uln, Part 14

“I know you like the elf, Eernon, but we can’t be riskin’ him being close to his people. He’d find some way to alert the guards and you won’t ever learn no magic. This is crazy. Jus’ let me put a point in ‘im and we don’t have to worry.”

Eernon looked at Vanlaug with anger in her eyes. “The elf lives. I’d sooner kill you at this point.”

“He’s right, Eernon. We don’t have to kill him, but we can’t take him with us.”

Melin leaned against a tree, a single reed poking out of the corner of her mouth. Eernon looked from Vanlaug to her, trying to read her expression. She wasn’t sure whose interest the warrior was looking out for. Vanlaug flashed a slight grin at the words, however.

“It would be folly to leave him here alone,” Eernon replied as she stepped closer to inspect the silent elf. “But who could I spare to watch him, hmm?”

“All the more reason to gut ‘im and let it be, Eernon. You’re our leader, not his. Ingdol has seen the walls of the city, we don’t need the elf as a guide.”

Eernon’s face twisted for a moment and then settled into a resolute mask. Her hands found the hilt of the massive sword that poked above her left shoulder. Despite it’s length, Eernon’s hands almost completely obscured the dirty leather wrapped hilt. Slowly, she began to slide it from it’s sheath.

“I’ll watch him.”

Everything stopped as all eyes turned to Gwenich. She held onto Ingdol’s wrist, her eyes staring vacantly forward. She released it and stepped into the middle of the assembled group, her bulk being second only to Eernon’s.

Vanlaug chuckled. “I don’t know that you can watch anythin’, girl. You’re missin’ the right parts.”

Gwenich’s arm shot up quickly, making Vanlaug jump back with surprise. It was not aimed at him, however. Her hand landed on Ingdol’s chest as he began to step forward, his knife slipping from it’s protective sheathing. He stopped at the contact.

“We can tie him to a tree. The other end of the rope can go to my waist. I’ll feel it if he begins to struggle. Besides, I’d only slow you down that close to the city.”

Ingdol opened his mouth to protest but found he could not. Even Vanlaug looked satisfied with that answer.

“Fine. Ingdol, leave her with a blade. If he tries to escape, you best make him wish he didn’t, girl. You’re life is what you offer for failure. Melin, bind him.”

Qua’Jon did not struggle. There was no use. Vanlaug constantly kept eyes on him and would have him cut down before he could cast the simplest of spells. He would continue to wait, like he had been since having the misfortune of meeting this group. He’d show Eernon what she wanted to see. It was doubtful she’d manage even the simplest of spells, so there was no harm in it.

The elf had seemed markedly calm ever since the storm had finished. The Mirlethians had noticed his speech to be coherent and measured. It was almost like they spoke to a different person. In truth, all this just served to mask the excitement and anxiety that bubbled unceasingly beneath the calm surface. There was much for Qua’Jon to attend to.

When that last bolt of lightning had struck, everything changed. He knew it without doubt. What he was unsure of, however, was what roll wormchomper had in it all. He dreadfully missed his companion. He guessed that the queen of badgers was likely playing envoy to whatever visitors the storm has brought with it. The elf cracked a slight smile at the thought.

No one else had seemed to notice, but the moons were different as well. Qua’Jon would be hard pressed to explain more than that, but it was obvious to him that they had changed. He’d awoken a few times over the past nights with the feeling of being watched, only to see one or both of the moons, large in the sky, hovering far above him.

By the time Qua’Jon stopped trying to figure out what it all meant, he realized he was alone with the strange Gwenich. He was also tied uncomfortably to a tree. He would not be for much longer, however. The strange girl was moving slowly toward him, knife drawn. A strange smile stretched itself across her sightless face.


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Digging in the Sand

Bones. So many bones. How many people have been buried here?

You find a rusty long sword and a small, golden vulture head worth 250 gp.

Red Sand

The sand here on the edge of the sacrificial ground is loose and looks recently churned.

Vulture Priest

The Vulture Priests are the enemy of knowledge and enlightenment. They seek to bring the eternal silence, the end of all things. Decay and obedience is their only god.

Armor Class 6 [13]
Hit Dice 1 (4hp)
Attacks 1 × Beak (1d4 or by weapon)
THAC0 19 [0]
Movement 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (1)
Morale 8 (11 when at their temple)
Alignment Lawful
XP 10 
Number Appearing 2d4 (1d6 × 10)
Treasure Type D
Immune to the Divine: The spells and powers of clerics and paladins have no effect on them.
Weapons: They frequently use wickedly curved daggers, which they use for sacrificial purposes.
Soul Clouders: There is a 10% chance that any Vulture Priest can use the sleep spell once per day. The targets are still awake, but they are beset by such a deep depression that it has the same effect as sleep. They may only watch what unfurls around them.