Candlemere Part 1
With the Kingdom having recovered from the assault of the Talonquake it was time to give Candlemere the proper attention it deserved…after Sidney and Lissa got to work making magic items for the party.
This included creating a Folding Boat as the primary means of getting to Candlemere. After a few weeks of Sidney’s magic it was time to explore the creepy Will-O-Wisp full island. Travel to the island was uneventful, and as they disembarked our group of Boudreaux, Grauk, Eleanor, Dox, Tarvis, Lucius, and Alanea took up defensive positions. The island itself was covered in thick spiny brambles that were waist high…this could be trouble. Both Boudreaux and Lucius recognized this as a normal kind of plant that carried a sickening poison on its thorns…and based on how much of it there was that would cause issues moving through it.
None of this however was a concern to a giant Allosaurus thanks to Boudreaux’s wild shaping abilities. Simply crushing the brambles under giant foot, a path was slowly forged through through miles of flat land. Hours into their slow trek towards the tower as the sun was beginning to set they finally reached the remains of Candlemere Tower.
The tower was much taller in some long forgotten age, with the crumbling remains reaching barely forty feet in height now. Bits of stone and refuse littered the island as the only evidence of what transgressed here. It was within sight of the tower that a growing sense of unease spread amongst the group…a sense that something was watching them…that they were unwelcome here…and that something was moments away from sneaking up on them. Something terrible had happened here, and that anger and rage and fear had seeped into the land itself.
Strange runes covered the outside of the tower in addition to the bits and pieces scattered across the island…indecipherable for the time being but Alanea made sure to get a few rubbings of the symbols they could reach. With time and research all would be made clear…
It was at this point that a group of three Will-O-Wisps had made themselves known by suddenly appearing near the party. Boudreaux and Eleanor became aware of their disgusting scent moments before they flew close enough to attack!
Unfortunately for the aberrations, our heroes had already learned to deal with a powerful Will-O-Wisp and a single Communal Resist Energy Electricity made all of their damage a moot point. Slowly realizing that they could not kill these limb-bearing outsiders the Wisps pulled back at first and then into a full on retreat as Boudreaux’s Echolocation spell made even their natural invisibility useless against this giant dinosaur.
Periodically Will-O-Wisps would slowly move back into Boudreaux’s Echolocation field testing to see if it was still possible for the druid to see them. Once or twice a single Will-O-Wisp would rush the group and manage to zap one with electricity to see if their magical resistance had faded and on occasion would be lucky enough for it to be true. Deciding that fighting these outsiders just wasn’t worth it the Wisps eventually left the group alone for good – flying high above the tower creating the fabled “Lights of Candlemere” that people have seen from across the lake.
There was one other important feature that our heroes discovered on their first foray into Candlemere Tower…and that was what appeared to be an giant stone mirror in the center of the tower ruins. Not only that, but it was completely invisible to the naked eye…it was only through Boudreaux’s Echolocation that he could detect something was there. A Glitterdust from Tarvis revealed the great stone mirror – standing a good eight feet tall the reflective surface was completely black on both sides. The edges of the mirror were decoratively covered in a design of tree branches covered with small leaves. The confetti cannon that is Glitterdust lasted only briefly before it was absorbed into the mirror.
Dox placed her hands upon the mirror and pressed her ear against it to try and see if she could figure out anything about this…but…more on that later. For the time being it was time to head back to their kingdom, analyze the information they found and come back soon.
As the heroes left the island unmolested the remaining Wisps watched from a distance…
“We need help for dealing with these outsiders.” One spoke in their profane language.
“I agree. Call everyone we know.”
The lead Wisp turned to face the skull as its firey aura flared in anger.
Candlemere Part 2.
It took Alanea multiple days to analyze the runes they had gathered from the ruins of Candlemere Tower and with no small help from the books they had obtained for their Library. According to her research the runes were created with a mix of three separate languages. Giant (which made sense), Sylvan (they had been running into a lot of Fae…), and Mabaran (what?) which is a language spoken by the creatures of the plane of shadow – Mabar. While this was a hurdle Alanea could not overcome on her own, this was nothing in the face of modern magical innovation! Within a day Sidney had whipped up a Helmet of Comprehend Languages for Alanea. It was still hard to figure out what the runes meant but now with some time and effort back at Candlemere they could decipher what message had been left there.
Gathering up the party once more (with Sidney tagging along instead of Lucius this time) our heroes returned to Candlemere with their Folding Boat. A voice called out to the group as they landed on the island – giving our heroes one last chance to leave this place and never return. Undeterred and unimpressed from their last encounter with the Wisps they continued inland. Everything seemed quiet as they assumed their previous formation – wild shaped druid at the front with Eleanor guarding the back. It wasn’t until halfway between the island and the tower that a sudden shockwave of brain-melting sound ripped through the group. Standing up from its hiding spot in the thorny brush a good 80 feet away was a large sized abomination that walked like a raptor without any facial features save for a spinning maw of razor teeth.
From above them, a bolt of negative energy shot through the sky and into Boudreaux draining some of his strength. A large crab monster with an extending lamprey mouth materialized in the sky as a devious laughing voice echoed through the minds of our heroes… “I know some of you are capable of casting magic…I look forward to discovering who that is.”
Will-O-Wisps rushed into the battlefield with their electricity crackling about them as the battle commenced! The new tactics of these aberrations threw the party for a loop as Boudreaux had to cast multiple Communal Resist Energies to provide protection against both Sonic and Electricity. The newcomers were quickly identified as a Destrachan (on the ground with the sonic scream) and a Neh-Thalggu (the telepathic crab monster).
With the Neh-Thalggu raining down spells from above while the Destrachan went on the hunt from the ground it nearly spelled doom for our heroes. With a bit of teamwork and providing buff spells for one another (Bardic Music and Haste in particular) the two newcomers were finally put down. At this point the Wisps had reached the end of their rope.
“Burn it! Burn it all!” Came the cry in their strange language. All across the island stacks of smoke could be seen rising into the sky. The Wisps still near the party sparked the brittle thorns that covered the island quickly giving rise to a deadly and rapidly spreading fire.
What had been a triumphant battle turned into a running obstacle course to get back to the shoreline, fighting off the heat, the choking smoke, and the various Will-O-Wisps that had become absolutely desperate in trying to kill this outsiders – attempting to trip the heroes, bull rush them into the fire, suicidal attempts to take them out with them.
Tarvis collapsed as he made it to the shoreline with Dox and Alanea not looking much better. It took hours for the fire to finish burning out, and the haunting screams of the Wisps that chose to burn to death in the fire carried across the lake the entire time…
As evening came upon the land the group headed inland once more unimpeded by any resistance – everything was quiet now. Analyzing the runes across the tower our heroes discovered a distrubing message.
“By the Order of the Council of the First the sentence carried out here is to punish a creature for the unforgivable crime of existence. It shall be bound and punished here for all eternity.”
The message, with the proper cipher they now had, was meant to be understood to creatures of all three planes – the Giants of the ancient empire, the Fae of the first world, and the creatures from Mabar the plane of shadow. The Council of the First were the leaders of the First World – Thelanis, plane of the Fae. The creatures that ruled the entire race passed judgment here. These answers led only to more questions…
What happened here? Who or what is the thing bound in this strange black mirror? Should they attempt to free the thing and offer it asylum? Would it be a political blow against the rulers of the First World if they did?
Regardless, the haunted island of Candlemere was now officially cleared out and ripe for the taking.