Ludo had watched the scene unfold in front of him. “Well that was quicker than even I anticipated”. He finished his meal, gulped some water down from his canteen and settled down for the first watch. He was tired, but for the first time in it seemed like ages he felt safe. He was confident the gnolls would not return, and they could all get some time to prepare for the next stage of their journey.
He mulled over what he had seen. The weapons that had struck the Golems had been absorbed, which was something he had never seen or heard of before. He was glad that they they didn’t have to fight them. He wondered if they could get them to come with us. He would mention it to Miklos in the morning. A dwarf, an elf, four humans and two golems defeating the “Sons of Night” – a smile creapt across his youthful face.
When the moon was at its highest, he nudged Feldard to take over the watch, and then gratefully fell into a deep slumber.
Feldard woke, alert, at Ludo’s nudge and rose to take his turn at watch. It was a quiet night and now that there were no sounds of drums pursuing them Feldard felt quite at ease within the mountain pass.
The dwarf was grateful the night passed without incident. He kept watch until the moon had long dropped behind the mountains, and the sun’s glow was in the eastern sky. He knew the elf would be upset that Feldard had not woken him for his watch but even the dwarf could see that Hasan needed all the rest he could get. So instead he would Stephen when dawn was on the verge. “It’s morning. You people won’t eat what I cook so you’d best make breakfast.”
Stephan stirred grumpily from a deep sleep banished by the dwarf’s unceremonious nudge this his boot. Despite the rude awakening, it had been a good sleep.
“‘You people’?” Stephan eyed Feldard. “And what could you even cook up here?” He looked around at the dusty, pebbly roof of the bridge tower. “There’s no wood for a fire. We’ll have to descend if we want something other than the iron rations and jerky.” At the words, his stomach groaned loudly. He fished out a few good mouthfuls of rations.
Hasan woke. The crisp air delight the elf, but the sun looked down wanly over the high mountain walls. The elf’s nose wrinkled a bit, as he contemplated their path deeper into the highlands. “Well, at least these hills are still forested,” he told his companions. The elf rose and cringed. His side was still very sore. “Thank you, Maruc,” the elf exclaimed gratefully, as the healer washed the now-bound wound from yesterday’s spear. “It still pains me, very badly. Do you have more willow bark? That tea calmed the pain greatly.”
Dark rings haunted Maruc’s eye. he slumped gratefully back as he prepared further healing for the party. He knew it would take at least another day for the friends to be fit enough to face the mountains and its secrets.
He slept fitfully though this cycle of healing and meditations but eventually his friends were healed and the recalled his old list of blessings for the onward journey.
Miklos enjoyed the enforced rest after the breathless run up the mountain. He spent his time studying the tome of the Sons of Night to determine any clues for the secrets of the mountain. He came back once again to the central passage, The Dread Prophecy.
The Breach of the Lost Temple.
The Awakening of the Grand Darker.
The Ascension of the Shadow Lord.
The Disappearance of the Elvenstar.
The Return of the Blackstick.
The Dread Night Attained.
As the mage studied the Book of Night, the others prepared to depart. It was morning and the party was once again at full strength. Above the waterfall, the Hutaakan’s ancient path climbed steeply, cutting into the mountain.
They left the bridge and ascended the narrow mountain pass. Rising above them was a sheer rock wall, and on the other side, a drop of hundreds of feet to the Foamfire River below.
The road was in a poor state of repair, overgrown in places, but clearly visible snaking out ahead of them. Occasional streams crossed the road. Some spanned by small bridges while others have eroded channels across the road’s surface. In places, sections of the road had fallen away, leaving rough rocky areas to be crossed above a drop of hundreds of feet.
After nearly a full day’s travel, they came to a high, 20-foot-wide, arching bridge which spanned a 200-foot-wide gorge. Although it had a parapet running along either side, the bridge was crumbling in places.