In which clues are discovered, rival treasure seekers are soundly beaten, and a new “friend” is made
Ever bold and intrepid, our heroes make for Temple Canyon, hunting the long-lost cache of the Galtan Redcloaks, a band of mercenaries who were the first the loot the ruin of Blackthorn Keep after its fall. Rumored to contain both the treasures of Blackthorn and the DeVar family, as well as riches other bandits might have added to the hoard in years since, it is easy to see why so many other parties might show interest in the cache. Unfortunately, clues to the actual whereabouts of the riches are hard to come by.
It soon became clear that what few bandit factions had survived the attentions of our heroes, the Eagle Knights, and the recent war, had begun fighting one another over the cache. Our heroes located an old Red Legion base built near the entrance to the canyon, now playing host to a small group working to find the treasure before time and battle erased clues to its location completely. None among them could claim to be the equal to a band of battle-hardened knights, and they put up little resistance. Two of them even surrendered their research into the area in exchange for their lives. According to their map, they had been hunting through shrines devoted to various gods, and had narrowed their search down to an old temple of Aroden and a cave frequented by Gorum’s faithful, though there was also a third, more obscure reference to Milani, a demigoddess of revolution and uprisings.
After Dame Lagatha made a strong argument in favor of visiting Gorum’s shrine next, our heroes made the gate at the same time the bandit scouting party returned. Supported by an enigmatic ninja and a bagpiper named Tzann MaCray, the party leader was unmoved by Sir Fiddich’s tired insistence that standing in their way would end poorly. She paid for this decision, as so many do, with her life.
The ninja immediately vanished in true ninja style, and the piper promptly took to his heels as well. Though he was sprinting away from combat just as fast as his feet could carry him, Sir Fiddich teleported ahead of him, greased him in butter, and threatened his life with magical fire. Improbably, this bizarre conflict was eventually resolved by offering MaCray a job to join the group (for which Sir Dread shilled out 75gp for his bardic services).
The shrine to Gorum led deep into the rock, following natural caves. Though it had seemingly been years since a worshipper of the War God had set foot inside the ruin, the signs of both Gorum’s presence and recent treasure hunting activities were everywhere. Inside an ancient training room the group found evidence of a chaotic battle between the living and a guardian of the Iron Faith. Having been proven unworthy in sight of the Lord of War, the dead did not rest easily, and rose to attack. Though damaged, the guardian was eager to strike at the restless dead, and Lagatha soon realized such a servant of her god would do her no harm. With the undead quickly vanquished, the group was free to continue, though the training room itself held further secrets.
A series of magical stone plaques detailing ancient Gorumite fighting techniques adorned the walls, though they had been damaged (as well as magically trapped) by the recent trespassers. Despite this, both Lagatha and Glenn chose to undertake the trial, allowing images of chaotic battles past to fill their minds. While Lagatha returned to herself with an even more perfect understanding of the training required to properly wear the metal armor all Gorum’s faithful bear in his name, Glenn found himself staring straight into the face of the War God himself. Though the experience left him deeply shaken, he knew without doubt he had earned Gorum’s favor, for good or for ill.
Having followed clear signs of rival treasure-seekers since stepping foot in the caves, Sir Dread is now almost within striking distance of the enemy! Will our heroes put paid to these pesky interlopers and lay claim to the treasures that must surely await? Or will the enemy’s ample head start (and time to prepare) prove to be too much? Find out soonish!