Shadows of Absalom

Chapter 14

The Man in the Hills

Not wanting to leave enemies that might attack them later, or perhaps because they thought that the creatures were the culprits the group had been seeking all along, the party chased after the perytons to their cave, seen way up in a ridge of scrubby hills between the Spire of Nex and Copperwood.  As they traveled towards the cave, a mysterious man in armor stepped out to meet them – he called himself Brother Nizo, and he wore the holy symbol of Iomedae on his chest like an emblem.  After some discussion, and perhaps a bit of paranoia, the party agreed to bringing him along, at least as far as the peryton cave.

Brother Nizo had been with a smaller party, wandering the hills in search of a special cave with a map from a now-dead mage – dead because he'd ben swooped up and killed by something which sounded similar to what the party was seeking.  While he had not gotten a look at whatever the flying creature was, Brother Nizo had seen a flash in the sky of some kind of magic, followed by the mage's plunge to his death; since then, the priest had been wandering the hills in search of whatever cave the mage had sought on his map.

The party tracked the peryton's back to their cave high above; however, it would be a difficult climb, and they would be exposed to attack, so the group decided to go around the ridge and find another way up to the cave.  After going south about a quarter of a mile along a ridge, they came upon a group of gnolls on patrol, and decided to ambush them.  It was a difficult battle, especially given the gnolls are excellent hill fighters; even as tey engaged the patrol, reinforcements came for the gnolls, including a shaman and his pet dire hyena.  The fight was just beginning to look bad for the party when Svala, who had been distracted gathering flowers, reappeared, and the tide of battle turned!

The slain gnolls were looted, as was their lair, and a fair amount of booty was recovered.  Then, the group was able to scale the hill from the back side of the peryton cave.  After resting and recuperating, the group climbed to the top of the hill, and made for the peryton cave at a run; one peryton circling above spotted them and attacked, with several others.  Even so, the group was able to slay the foul sky creatures; Brother Nizo climbed down with a rope from the top of the hill and make it into the peryton cave, where he killed a number of peryton hatchlings.  While there were remains present, it did not appear to be the creatures that had abducted the missing Copperwood people.  The party did claim a number of items from the peryton cave as well, and once back on top of the hill, Brother Nizo looked west and saw a shape which he thought might be on the scholar's map: Kelok's Tomb.

Now the party has decided to hike over to the next ridge and find the cave, and perhaps the answers to what sort of creature has been deviling Copperwood.



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