Bear Claws

28. The Grassy Gnoll

Don't eat the natives

Characters: Alton, Jak, James, Thornside, Roland, Xaladin
Level: 8
Location: Castle Graystone
NPCs: Loovat, Falrinth, Cunning

The Bear Claws approach the gnolls in the entrance to Fortress Graystone by telling them they are Sarshan’s emissaries doing an inspection. The gnolls seem confused but accept the situation. They are stuck in the room because they can’t figure out the portal system that is in there. The Bear Claws start walking through portals and find they are just as confused as the gnolls. Xaladin and Thornside end up in a small room with a door. The rest find a secret passage that leads them underneath a room where the gnolls are training in the use of the chaos ore weapons that Sarshan delivered.

Xaladin and Thornside get near the door where the troops are being trained and Xaladin recognizes Leena’s voice as the instructor. Thornside thinks she is the owner of Leena’s restaurant and barges in at the same moment that the rest of the group pushes the trap doors under the chamber open.

Leena steals Thornside’s bow and throws it at Xaladin. Thornside gets flustered and can’t seem to hit anything. Jake draws all the enemies into a circle just in time for Alton and Roland to light them on fire and freeze them to death. When they are done the room is littered with the corpses of dead gnolls and one Shadar-Kai weapon instructor.

Exploring the secret passage further the Bear Claws discover that one direction leads toward a smell like hot iron and brimstone. The other leads to a room full of githzerai ghosts and a pile of treasure. Thornside sees the treasure and tells the Bear Claws that he has found the prisoners. He leads them around to another entrance — in order to steal the treasure, and they end up fighting a room full of gnolls riding hyenas.

When those enemies are defeated Thornside grabs the treasure and the Bear Claws realize he lied to them to get them to go get treasure. When he really does hear some guards talking about prisoners several of them don’t believe him. Roland chooses to try to convince them and goes ahead into the chamber. He moves in and tells the gnoll guards (who are arguing about being able to eat the prisoners) that he is taking the prisoners to Fangren.

They believe him and he finds Loovat, Falrinth and Cunning — a tiefling leatherworker. After leading them out to the hallway where the rest of the Bear Claws are Loovat is relieved to see his friends and anxious to hear that his family is safe. Cunning mentions his leather work and offers to fix up Jak’s armor, given an opportunity. Thornside launches into a sales pitch for the Freetraders.

Falrinth complains that Megan would have killed the guards and looted their bodies.

With the rest of the Castle explored the Bear Claws head down the secret passage to the end. The sword, Amyria, speaks, urging them onward. Malthazard speaks to Alton and reminds him of his pact. He complains that Alton never tried to become an exarch — Yeenoghu gets all the good disciples.

When they reach the end of the passage they find a large circular chamber with a raised dais in the middle. Three large cauldrons burn around it and there are several twisted and malformed prisoners wandering around. On the dais three gnolls are performing a ritual with the bloody entrails of a slaughtered sacrifice. Behind them the air shimmers red as the ritual casters chant the name of Yeenoghu.

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