13 Kuthona, 4713 – Iobaria, Artrosa
Wandering the halls of the Maiden, the party makes its way back to the large grotto the satyr described as the Artrosa, the party finds themselves back in the room where they slept and make their way through the coven room. They follow the small corridor which to this point had gone unnoticed on their maps and finds that it takes them to the “Crone.” They finds themselves in a room with a series of wooden racks with several wild animals and creatures in various stages of dissection being examined by three mutated creatures in smocks. Aiwendil figures they are a variation of a forlarren. Hunter unleashes a volley of arrows and the party attacks.
The three mutants put up a determined fight but ultimately are no match to the arrow onslaught of the ranger and a angry magic unleashed by the druid, both of which are both outraged at the level of perversion these three have conducted against nature. Examining the journals after the fight is concluded, even Alabaster determines that based on what he has seen here, not all knowledge is worth seeking out and the party puts what few tortured creatures that still struggle mercifully out of their misery.
Following the only corridor which exits the room, they come into a large chamber that is not much better. This room appears to be occupied by a large group of zombified panthers with a short porcupine-looking tender wearing a leather outfit made from human skin. There are more dead cats laying about in states of preparation to also be made into zombies. Hunter attempts to sneak forward but is detected by one of the hoarpanthers who roars to warn the others and the entire room erupts into combat. Although it is hectic and the party does have relatively little trouble in defeating the creatures, tragedy strikes as one of the hoarpanthers gets a critical hit on Hunter and takes off his hand. Although there is no real danger of him dying from the injury, it is no less traumatic as he is primarily a bowman.
Once the combat is over, the party takes stock on what to do as they are not high enough level yet to restore or regenerate such a wound. With few options, Hunter attempts a divine prayer to his deity, Erastill who deems the prayer worthy of answering. In response to the prayer, Hunter feels compelled to return to the outdoors via the shortest route possible while Vadoma gathers the hand to try and preserve it as best she can using her healing skills.
A mental tug leads the party down a side corridor which opens into a small grotto with a cauldron sitting in the middle. A random collection of food and alchemical ingredients lay scattered about on tables, some of them marked with interesting titles. A steaming mist rises from the cauldron but Aiwendil in his elemental form notices a whisper seeming to come from the steam. Conversing with the voice he discovers a mihstu has taken up residence in this room. He is able to negotiate with the creature to allow safe passage for the party. Alabaster and Vadoma determine that several forms of potions, both good and bad, can be made by adding spices from the side tables and they use a few to make cure moderate wounds potions to heal the injured party members.
After a short respite, the group moves on as the passage slopes slightly upward and they come into a slightly larger, darkened grotto. The group soon finds itself under attack by shadows. Vadoma and Aiwendil are able to utilize their divine magics to eliminate the undead threat. With the undead threat eliminated, Hunter says that the mental tug feels stronger now and leads the group up a staircase until they come to a stone door. Pushing the door open, they find themselves looking outside.
Svala and Tacey devise a prop to hold the door open as the group steps outside and find themselves atop the “Crone” statue.. Sitting on a rock watching the party as they exit is a large black eagle. The PCs stay near the door as Hunter approaches the eagle and as he nears, it transforms into a tall thin man with a bow on his back wearing black leathers.
As Hunter approaches the man says, “Erastil, has heard your prayer and deemed you worthy of an answer. I am Blackfeather, Servant of the Supreme Archer and I bring you a gift from Old Deadeye himself.” He presents Hunter with a normal looking leather bracer and explains, “This bracer will restore your ability to be an archer. When you place your severed hand against your arm and wear this bracer about it, your hand will function as normal. When you remove the bracer, your hand will once more become detached. There are special limits placed upon the bracer, but The Stag God will convey those at a time and manner of his choosing.” Hunter nods in understanding.
With a final farewell Blackfeather transforms back into an eagle and flies off. Hunter takes his hand back from Vadoma and attaches it with the bracer. It flares with a simple glow for a split second and then his hand is functional once more. The PCs return to inside the statue to continue their search for keys.