Interrupting a religious ceremony, Teks meets Maeve and Shaylaugh, two human druids who have sought refuge in the tunnels below Grimland. Reading their auras, Teks discovers they are true neutral. Maeve wonders if they are the Hornblowers spoken of in druidic legend, and Jongle & Golgaraz confirm her suspicions by making beautiful music together.
Maeve leads them deeper into the catacomb of tunnels — which stretch for miles! — telling them of the prophecy of the horn of the sacred grove.
Created by two druids named Gregory and Dorinna two-hundred years ago, at the dawn of the Time of Troubles, the horn was meant to restore balance to the land and defeat the lord in the castle. But before the horn could be tested, the cruel leechmouths descended on Gregory and Dorinna. They dragged Dorinna off to an unknown fate and murdered Gregory. But before Gregory died he cried that, ‘None of this cursed land shall ever find the horn!’
Subsequently, some of these druids have met Ursula, who prophesied that “Earth protects the secret. Hidden from the sun, by shovel may they find it, by the sword shall it be won!” Maeve believed this would herald the coming of the Hornblowers, outsiders who could find the horn, which would be buried underground; Shaylaugh interpreted it to mean the leechmouths would find the horn and the druids could recover it by killing the leechmouths.
With safe haven in the druids’ tunnels, the Revengers must decide which course to take if they want to find the horn: dig, or fight?
Bertram’s natural ability to detect slopes and unsafe passages leads the Revengers to a previously-undiscovered secret passage. They encounter a geist, a type of spirit that, while horrifying, has little ability to interact with the physical world. The geist points them toward a clue: a series of faint scratches on the wall that read Seek the misty mouth when it spits the sun into the sky. That which you seek lies in the valley whose floor is carpeted with death. Beware the mist!
The Revengers take this to indicate The Maw of Arawn, a mountainous crag that continually spits a yellow mist into the sky. Also, it is like the only other thing on their map.
(Bertram asks the druids about the Wolf of Arcworth — they knew the name as belonging to a historical figure from the Time of Troubles 200 years ago, the same time period as Gregory, Dorinna, and the creation of the horn. To Bertram and the Revengers, the Wolf lived approximately one-thousand years ago.)
It takes two days to travel to the Maw. Reaching the top of the crag, before descending into the mists, is a strenuous climb. Minja nearly falls, but Teks rescues her. Jongle takes a turn carrying baby Valeria.
The sickening mists weaken many Revengers, and the mists themselves coalesce into a pincer that attacks the party! Nearly impossible to hit with their weapons, Jongle disperses the mist creature with his magical wind fan.
Reaching the valley within the maw, the Revengers find it covered in bones, which have turned yellow in the mist. The bones are difficult to walk on, but the ground seems stable. The Revengers hear the horn before they see it — the wind blows through the valley, creating a mournful wail as it passes across the horn of the sacred grove. The Revengers find it resting in the teeth of a human skull. The horn appears to be carved from an antler and is studded with gold and glittering crystals.
Teks picks up the horn, and as he does the bones under the Revengers stir and form into a bone golem. Impervious to certain kinds of magic and resistant to their slashing & piercing weapons, the Revengers resort to smashing the golem as best they can.
Casting spells in spite of his own warnings, one of Bertram’s spells surges and his skin teleports three feet to his left. His skin crumples to the ground and Bertram experiences only an intense, sizzling, stinging all over his body. Bea attempts to magic missile the golem, but her spell also surges — turning her eyeballs into glittering opals. Now blind, Bea nonetheless casts alternate reality to save Bertram’s life rather than her own eyes. But Bea’s spell doesn’t prevent Bertram’s surge — it merely changes the results. Bertram’s lost skin is restored, but all of his items become sentient, alive, and free-willed.
Amidst the chaos, Golgaraz & Jongle team up to smash the golem. It clatters lifelessly to the bone-strewn ground. The horn of the sacred grove is in the hands of the Revengers, but a strange cost has been paid!
Unearthed Prophecy, 1200
Mist Horror, 1500
Bone Golem, 18000
Group Total 20,700 Individual Awards 3450
Bea 4350 (Opal Eyes 900, Group 3450)
Bertram 4350 (Slope Detector 900, Group 3450)
Ervendio 4350 (Laying on Hands Before Bed 900, Group 3450)
Golgaraz 4350 (Bonesmasher 900, Group 3450)
Jongle 4350 (Windblower 900, Group 3450)
Teks (The General Grievous of Digging 900, Group 3450)
The Horn of the Sacred Grove