Aeron and the Wrekin Border

Into the Barrow Downs Session #2

Is that a blood filled giant leech on your leg, or are you just pleased to see me?

The Downs above Deerbye are closer to bad-lands and moorland than the rolling hills of North Aeron. Consequently, although the horses were brought on the expedition, much of the time the beasts had to be led rather than ridden to avoid the risk of laming. A likely local had pointed out that he knew a small valley where at least one decent sized Barrow was. Hired as both guide and horse-handler he led the Ashen Blades north.
Just as camp was being set up, two men came upon the group unawares. Threatening and seeking a couple of horses, the brigands had made a shocking miscalculation. One was quickly smashed into the ground by the Anti-Paladin’s wicked morning star, while the other succumbed to the Spellsword’s Choking Grip. Released from the Grip the brigand surrendered and was offered a spot in the Blades as a damage prevention operative (read “meat shield”), which he took. The Blades discovered that he and his erstwhile colleague were from a larger group but a “disagreement” had led them to leave the other brigands.
The next morning, the Blades discovered the oasis that the guide had promised. A stream ran down of the hills and created a pool in the floor of the valley which was perhaps sixty or seventy yards across and some one hundred and fifty yards deep. In the contoured sides of the vale were at least three visible cave or barrow entrances. While the rest of the Blades provisioned the horse-holder and gave instructions to head back along the track a couple of miles for safety, the Anti-Paladin chose to investigate the pool.
Starting with an effort to discern through divine revelation whether or not there was any benevolence in the pool, before graduating to splashing and throwing rocks in the water, the Anti-Paladin achieved little except to disturb four giant leeches. One of the leeches was quickly pin cushioned by the rest of the Blades while the Anti-Paladin and his trusty dog fought off the rest. It rapidly became apparent that the Anti-Paladin had bitten off more than he could chew and the rest of the group joined the fray. The Corsair, Anti-Paladin and Dranet the hench-warrior were all attacked or had blood drained, and the Anti-Paladin was so grievously afflicted that he needed divine healing from the Bladedancer not once but twice. The leeches were eventually destroyed, but the Blades resources were seriously depleted. Nearly an hour spent dredging the pool with rope and grapple produced nothing except pondweed and detritus, much to the disappointment of both he Corsair and Nightblade.
The Blades then opted to investigate the nearest cave opening, both to seek possible treasure and also ensure a secure campsite for overnight. The opening did turn out to be a Barrow entrance, but the first three chambers proved to be suspiciously empty and seemingly unused. A brief encounter with some stirges that had come through the barrow entrance put the Blades more on their guard.
The last chamber however proved to be full of dungeon vermin in the form of nine giant bombardier beetle, each three feet long with vicious, piercing mandibles. A Sleep spell quickly cast three of the creatures into an arcane slumber. Forming a fighting line in the doorway, the Spellsword, Corsair, Nightblade and Bladedancer fought off the pests. The Corsair was especially unlucky. Not only was he sprayed with the caustic toxins of these bugs, but he was bitten several times. Finishing off the beetles revealed that this chamber had several dozen of the bone figurines sold as wraith charms in Deerbye and a beautifully crafted and unblemished sword.
At this point, the Ashen Blades recalled their horse-holder/guide and, securing the barrow entrance, settled down for the night.

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