….or did they? With the Prelacy troops routed and the builders slain or on the run the Rangers thought they had the town safe and approached a local to ask what happened. That’s when they found out why the town had been invaded. Adam, one of the town guards, told them that the Prelacy moved in with the express purpose of taking over the mayoral home. Since they did so there have been sounds from the basement day and night.
So, the rangers headed in to check it out. Unfortunately for the integrity of the building Grek was a little too large to fit down the stairs. By the simple expedient of a judicious use of his axe he made a hole to go down into the basement. Once there they found a few builder guards and a variety of builder devices and crates. They disarmed and disabled the guards and found that the builders created a tunnel in the back of the basement. Down the tunnel the Rangers found a Nereid cowering in hiding.
The Nereid, who introduced herself as Avariel, told the Rangers that the others who came before them slayed several of her kin and drove her away, but that they were still in the cave not far from there. They were trying to steal what she called The Source. A magical gemstone imbued with the power of Life that the Nereid had lived around and revered for eons.
The Rangers approached with care, each doing their best to approach unnoticed. They followed a small stream up to its source. The gemstone known as The Source. It was a brightly glowing white stone the size of a goblin’s head on a small island in the middle of a little lake. With the stone stood several members of the Prelacy and an unidentified man they did not recognize. Spread around the rest of the room stood many other Prelacy forces.
The rangers attacked to try to drive away the thieves. Things were going well at first. Then a large gust of wind blew in from a side chamber forming a small whirlwind from which came strange creatures of air and lightning. Gobner dispatched the creatures of air in short order before being thrown across the room with shattered ribs by the creature of lightning. The creature lay about itself with wanton destruction.
The rangers, with some inadvertent aid from the lightning creature, dispatched the remaining Prelacy forces and the unknown man but things still looked bad for them. They looked bad, that is, until Grek received a moment of inspiration and released a great bellow and leapt into the salt water lake. His impact created a great wave that crested up and over the Lightning creature. When the water settled back down there was no further sign of the creature, and the whirlwind settled as well.
After making sure that no threats remained the Rangers called Adam down and introduced him to Avariel. Upon telling her that Adam would be her guardian room glowed more brightly and a soft whinny was heard. When the light faded Adam himself was glowing and Avariel told everyone that Adam was now her guardian and had been imbued with the powers of such.
Having provided the town and the Nereid with protection from future incursions the rangers headed up to the surface to head onward. As they did they came to realize that while the whirlwind was gone the storm itself was not. While the rangers dealt with the Prelacy in the basement a storm moved in above ground. The rangers chose to remain in Miller’s Wheel for the night to try to wait out the storm.
Unfortunately the storm did not die down. It merely increased in power so the Rangers set off through it to continue their journey. After two days of slogging through the rain the rangers found a cave to try to rest out the night. They were not the only ones to think of trying to do so and part way through the night a small group of bandits came into the cave. They tried to ambush the rangers but quickly fell with only their leader escaping the rapid reversal of his ambush.
With the storm intensifying the rangers chose not to pursue him. The rest of their night was spent in uncomfortable sleep and the rest of the journey to Torgath was uneventful. Upon reaching Torgath Gather they found that, unlike what the captured Prelacy told them, Torgath Gather appeared to be free of Prelacy forces so they asked around. Speaking with the head Shaman, the Mak Torkash, and the head scout they found that many Prelacy forces were spotted heading west up into the mountains.
They also found that in that same direction lies an abandoned gather with extensive mine systems that could be serving the Prelacy as their new base of operations. The Goblinesh of the Gather warned them that the mines are haunted but that did little to deter the rangers. Instead a rousing speech from Grek gained them a squad of volunteers to come with them to roust the Prelacy from the mines.