Dominions of Aereth

Julians log - Skulltop Hill

Dangers in the Dark

I have claimed some of the writing implements and supplies of the sorcerer. I suppose I could use them to craft a log to keep track of the travels and trials of our little band and myself. 

When I got to the village of Dundraville, I hadn't expected to stay. But in the few days it took me to recover from my harrowing escape and my journey to the place I had gotten comfortable. With no plan and no master I wasn't sure what to do. THe work at the stable was a physical effort, but not nearly as much as I was used  to doing chores all day for Ruvaris, and there wasn't hours of study and practice tht had been expected of an apprentice on top of that. THe life of a peasant was hard work, but easy when you compared it to my life as an apprentice.

Nobody in the town knew what my past occupation was, and it was nobody had made the journey of a few days to where Ruvaris's keep lay. So I decided to lay low here and wait until those who had slaughtered my master and his servants were long gone. Sometimes the loss of everyone I knew and grew up with was too much, but I sleep in a hey loft and tears are absorbed quickly and never noticed. Some day I will find the architect and the tools of their end and deliver the destruction such foul deeds deserve.

Dundraville was a sleepy little farming and fishing village and it suited me well enough. I fell into the roll of stable hand and as fall turned to winter I kept warm. Eventually spring arrived and the village woke and got more busy. I helped out where I could, enjoying the simple life of a peasant. Occasional a cave giant wold make his presence known in town and demand a tribute be paid or he would destroy the town. Though the town was small and had militia to stand against the beast they likely could have defeated it, but losses would be high in such an encounter. So they had gotten used to the creature and paid it what it asked and it would leave for a time.

I heard that on occasion the giant would be challenged by a particularly brave individual or group. The few that survive still carry the scars of their encounter, and the town still paid. There was a wizard who lived just outside the village, he could have likely dealt with the giant, but he was rarely in town and never concerned himself with the affairs to the townsfolk. I steered clear of him and his apprentice for I knew it was possible that they could see me for what I was. What did  the giant want with silver, and why was he so restrained in his dealings? This we would come to learn later.

It wasn't until the giants demands became too high that the townsfolk came up with a plan. They laced a keg of ale with a strong sleeping potion bought from the wizards tower, likely made by the apprentice. The plan was to follow him back to his cave in Skulltop Hill and end his reign of terror after he had drunk himself to sleep. But when he returned he demanded even more than he had asked for, now he wanted villagers as well. The village refused, so the giant picked individuals. A traveling gnome tried to stop him but was chosen by the giant for his trouble, the other was a tavern wench. I had decided to not participate in this ill conceived plan and was fishing down stream past old Tarik's house so didn't know until hours later.

The change had thrown the town and their plan into chaos. Nobody was willing to go now that the giant showed an interest in eating people. And what if he killed the people he had taken when he noticed anyone approaching. There were none who wanted to take the risk. I was preparing to step forward and go myself, I did after all have a few tricks that might allow me to emerge victorious, when the other tavern wench stood up and offered to go. I moved to her side and lent my assistance to join in the danger, glad to not be going alone. Then a young traveling priest raised his voice and offered to aid us in our quest.

And so Cheralie, the barmaid,  Aiden the acolyte of <GOD>,and I prepared our belongings and headed out at first light the next day. Skulltop hill was well known as the giants lair and few aproached it even tough it was not far off the main road to <PLACE> and only a couple hours from town. THe trip was uneventful and we surveyed the hill from the bushes. 

The hill sat in the middle of a small field. It was maybe ten rods high and a furlong or more at the base. It was mostly round and covered by grass. Near the top were two large  openings that kind of looked like skull eye sockets, a depression where the nose hole might be and some large rocks strewn about almost made the top of the hill into a leering skull. An aptly named formation. I had heard about a possible opening in the west side of the hill, if the giant was smart enough to have run this racket on the village for a long time he would likely have some form of defense or warning at the front entrance.

We moved around the hill in the bushes and found the opening. It was covered in roots and bushes. We began clearing the opening but as we did a humanoid creature tending some sheep took notice of us. He even drew his sword and threatened when we approached to talk. So we backed off and hid in the bushes until the creature had herded his sheep around the other side of the hill.

Just as we were about to return to the hill two people from the village found us and asked to join our mission. I was glad to have more company since Aiden didn't seem like a great warrior and I know next to nothing of weapons. The local fisherman who people 'Magic Carp' or "magicarp' (I still don't know his real name) and Sarah, a hunter who spends more time in the woods than in town, joined us and we entered the hil together.

In the dark caverns we found bats and beetles, mud and mushrooms, and eventually a hidden entrance to where the cave giant slumbered. I never found out if he had been drugged by the ale or not, but whatever the reason we were lucky to catch him off guard and defeat him without loss of life on our side. After a quick search of his lair we found much of the plundered supplies, a kitchen, living area, and a wolf, but no sign of the kidnapped wench or gnome. As we went outside to search the area further we encountered the sheep herder again. This time he hesitated only a moment then ran into the woods as it began to drizzle.

With no sign of the captives at the top of the hill we went back in the west entrance. We searched more caves and found some kind of dire cave skunk but no missing people. A further search of the cave giant's lair was required. And with it was found a secret area cleverly hidden in the living chamber of the beast. It lead to a small ladder going down, far too small for the giant himself. 

Venturing fown we found clean alchemy workshop. Down a corridor a screaming fungus alerted all  to our presence, but we weren't the most stealthy bunch to begin with. Aiden dealt with the sorcerer while we were all bespelled to distraction. and we found hit 'unholy' sanctum, also a bedroom with a desk and books.

But in the last room we entered we found a dwarf working at a forge and two captives from the village. Dayle the wench at the Merry Riot, and a Jonas the traveling peddler, were for the most part alive, shaken but able to return to town. The dwarf was known to the locals and appeared to be under the spell of the sorcerer.

It turns out the Sorcerer was names Suto and had been attempting to summon some dark entity. Though it appears he was most proficient at the alchemical magic of change, He was studying summoning as well. He needed the silver for his summoning circle and the villagers for sacrifice. He was able to put the cave giant he called Blogg under his control and use its monthly visits to the village to start collecting silver and eventually sacrifices for his ritual. It is unclear what roll the goblinoid named Gurt was or if it would ever return.

So with the dangers dealt with and the villagers saved Cheralie, Sarah, and Magicarp escorted them back to Dundraville while Aiden and I kept watch over the lair and its contents. We found some flying books while we waited. They were quickly subdued, delivering only minor bruises. And the next day the villagers goods were returned and Sutos riches were removed. and back at the village we all had a good long celebration.

They call us heroes, and adventurers and you know what, I do feel different. I don't think I will return to the stables, Kerwin really didn't have enough work for a stable hand anyway. Maybe its time to start looking for those who killed my master, or just time to learn more of my craft, maybe wander a bit and see what is out in the world. Whatever it is, I know, I am ready for my next adventure.

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LordSpectre

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