D&D Chronicles 2: Temple of the Moon

This is the fifth adventure of our D&D Mythos campaign and the DM says we’ve just finished (are about to finish?) the prologue. That means there’s heaps more to go – yay!

In this installment, our intrepid group plans and executes an excellent raid…


SARIEL

I wonder what our people back home would say if they knew we’ve been consorting with ‘Hant’ again. It’s only a week since we helped Callindo restore the idol of Fenmarel Mestarine… and now here we are again at another Mestarine holy temple.

(In truth, I don’t care what my people would say. Yet again the Mestarine have shown they are kind and honourable — even towards Parnians, who would oppress them.)

A plague of rats

It all started about seven days ago, when we were back on Watch patrol in Rivermeet. A tip off led us to the Three Tun Brewery, which was being put out of business by a plague of rats. A short investigation and skirmish revealed the infestation to be caused by a man suffering from the rat-lycanthropy disease. (Erwin of Newhaven is clearly a disreputable fellow, but the poor man was sorely afflicted.)

Image by sipa from Pixabay

In return for Erwin calling off his rats, we agreed to help him find a cure. We asked around and eventually found ourselves consulting Thester, the Mestarine shaman who we’d met scant days earlier. She confirmed the existence of a Mestarine temple of healing, a few days journey to the south. Thester believed Erwin would find a cure at the temple, but she warned no-one had heard from the temple in around a year.

Orcs, we thought. Orcs had overrun another Mestarine temple! It had to be.

I think if we had known the true state of things, we might not have acted as we did. We might instead have sent Erwin on his way to seek his cure. But it is no doubt a sign of our growing taste for adventure (and slaying orcs) that we found ourselves begging our Watch commander to give us leave to seek the temple, liberate it if needed, and find a cure for the ‘reported’ rat-scourge of Rivermeet.

He gave us leave (unpaid, alas) and ten days to fix this problem.

Our journey to the temple took three and half days and revealed two important things. First, Erwin was less in control of his condition than we realised. Second, orcs were not in fact responsible for overtaking the temple and we faced a more challenging task than we had assumed.

Temple of Sehanine Moonbow

The temple of Sehanine Moonbow, who is Sularine goddess of the full moon and protector of the dead, stands on the flank of a hill overlooking the River Goltha. Its aspect is picturesque, and I daresay the surrounding fields are usually tranquil and serene, wildflowers swaying, breeze rustling the grass… Doubtless there would also be birds and cute little rabbits hopping about.

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

But this is not what we saw as we crested the hill. Instead of a serene stone circle, our view was dominated by the various ugly Parnian structures erected in the last year by the followers of Tarisa, a cleric of the Parnian church of Vellas, who had seized control of the temple.

We heard the whole sorry story from Vihan, one of the Mestarine people who have spent the past year enslaved by these Parnians. The Vellasians arrived around a year ago and killed the Mestarine priestess, Dariel, without provocation. Tarisa, the priestess of Vellas, claimed the Staff of the Moon and began charging supplicants exorbitant fees to be healed by its magic. She brought armed guards to subdue the remaining Mestarine and keep the supplicants under control.

Even now, there are at least a score of people camped around the settlement (for which they are also being charged an exorbitant fee), others in the ugly, even more expensive inn, all waiting for the full moon and a chance to be cured.

This just did not sit right with us. According to Vihan, Dariel never charged supplicants a healing fee, but gratefully accepted donations in thanks. The Vellasians, on the other hand, are here simply to make coin from desperate people.

Night raid

It is fortunate we did not come here in any official Watch capacity. Rivermeet’s influence doesn’t reach this far, but I can only imagine what the duke would say if he heard about our actions last night. Hopefully only the church of Vellas, headquartered in far-off Newhaven, will take umbrage at what we have done. (If they hear about it.)

But I for one am immensely proud that we liberated the temple from the Vellasians and returned it to the Mestarine. I was not sure we could do it, but our plan worked beautifully.

It helped that there was going to be an unscheduled private healing in the temple at midnight. A Parnian noblewoman, Anisa, arrived earlier in the day with her sick daughter and laid down a bagful of gold. This brought out the full contingent of Vellasian priests and guards, and the night was ablaze with torchlight and ceremonial splendour.

The pageantry served as a fabulous distraction. It enabled us to take out the guards at the Mestarine compound without detection. We were then all able to creep undetected along the flank of the hill, under cover of night and scrub, to the clearing where the temple stands.

Our timing was impeccable. We arrived scant minutes before midnight, as the robber-priestess ascended the steps to the sacred stone circle, accompanied by her acolyte, several guards, and the Parnian noblewoman with her daughter and retinue. The rest of her forces took up position at the bottom of the hill — while I sneaked into position above them.

We acted decisively.

Brosia cast a web across the temple stones, entangling many of the Vellasians, while Aramil followed with half a dozen Mestarine armed with wood-axes. Dixxon took the rest of the Mestarine to hold the top of the steps. Erwin called a swarm of rats, before transforming into his own rat shape and leaping into the fray.

As for me, I sent a few arrows into Tarisa’s chief commander. (Orc Biter works on humans too.)

Image by Christine Engelhardt from Pixabay (detail)

It was poetry.

For half a minute. And then it was chaos.

Shouts, clashing steel, screeching rats, crunching bone, spraying blood.

When Aramil started yelling my name, I ran to the temple to find the priestess, who appeared severely injured, about to plunge a dagger into a paralysed Brosia. My arrow went straight through Tarisa’s throat; Brosia roused and grabbed the Staff of the Moon.

After that, it was pretty much over. Erwin disembowelled the chief commander, then the rest of the guards and the acolyte all laid down their arms and surrendered.

Erwin restored

There wasn’t too much bloodshed overall. Dixxon stepped up and made a pretty speech to all the onlookers about how the temple was now returned to the goddess’s chosen custodians, being the Mestarine. Most of the surviving guards have agreed to remain in service of the temple.

It turns out that Vihan’s daughter, Vihana, was Dariel’s apprentice and will be the new priestess. She immediately healed the noblewoman’s daughter, then turned her attention to our friend Erwin. Poor Erwin writhed and contorted for half an hour as Vihana laid the staff upon him, but in the end he was cured of his condition.

The Staff of the Moon needs recharging now. Apparently that can only happen in this temple under the full moon — which next occurs in a few days’ time. But Vihana has promised to heal everyone as soon as can be managed.

I do not know what they intend regarding fees — the guards will need paying, after all, and I feel the Mestarine must have protection, or some other force will come and seize control of the temple and the staff. But that is for them to work out. As expected, the Vellasian coffers were rather full of coin, which will keep them going for a while.

Kobolds next?

As for us, we are departing today, having rested after the night’s excitement. We have just enough time to return to Rivermeet within our allotted ten days.

Although… some days ago, back in the village of Black Heath, we did discuss a kobold problem with the Baron of Black Rock’s guards. Clearing out a kobold infestation does sound like an adventure, and we are developing quite a taste for adventure.

I wonder if the Watch commander would mind if we made a detour?


As to that, we shall see what happens this weekend…

I am really enjoying playing a bard, now that I’m getting the hang of it. She’s not much use in hand to hand combat, but her archery skills are improving daily — even better now she’s up to level 3.

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