The party, now back in town, decides to rest up and upon returning to the Swinging Sword, they encounter Stanor Thistlehair who seems to be well into his evening drinking as Braxton starts up a conversation with him. Stanor tells him that he has growing concerns that the quarry he works in is haunted. He says that Alliberry Maliko manages the quarry, and that while he has passed on his concerns to her, they have been summarily ignored. Stanor, more concerned with the fullness of his tankard of ale, continues to drink as the group goes to retire upstairs.
Before retiring to bed, Tehn decides to take a quick walk at night on the streets of Red Larch. He meanders his way to the quarry entrance that Stanor had spoken of and sees off in the distance from the entrance some cloaked figures with torches going into what he can only assume is a structure or cave of some sort. Tehn notes this, and then walks back to the inn to sleep.
The next day the group decides to investigate the reports of a mysterious skull pinned to a tree by an arrow. When our heroes arrive to examine the arrow, Tehn picks up the parchment attached to the arrow along with the skull, as he does so, a strange feeling comes over Tehn. The monk cannot say why, but the feeling portends danger in the future. The parchment has an enigmatic message on it: “The last laugh. -Balklandar”
The party takes the arrow back to Arthur for examination, but Arthur can only confirm what our heroes already suspect, that the arrow has some black, unknown enchantment on it. The group then takes it to Tehn’s acquaintance Imdar Relvaunder. Imdar only reveals slightly more, telling them that the arrows enchantment is undead in nature, and that while Tehn has been tainted, the taint is irremovable, but temporary in nature.
Not knowing what more to do concerning the arrow and it’s mysterious note, the group decides to investigate the claims of a tomb nearby that is haunted. The group opens the stone door to the tomb…and immmediately triggers a rather crude alarm by doing so. A half ogre and a goblin rush to the scene intent on killing the heroes. The group quickly take down the half ogre with a series of focused attacks from each member, and the sequence proves to powerful enough for Tehn to name it: Delta Strike! The goblin, having lost his musclebound companion is defeated quickly. Having dispatched the monsters, the group is free to explore the tomb. Tehn sees a gate made of iron bars and decides to examine it, but upon touching the gate a ghost appears and warns them to turn back, lest they incur it’s wrath for violating this sacred resting place. Before leaving, they ask the ghost the name of it’s master, who it has referenced several times in the conversation. The ghost reveals that his master is one Alevar Morianan. While not knowing who that is, the group decides that the real threat was the ogre and goblin making trouble in these parts, and thus decides to leave the ghost in peace.
As our party exits the tomb Tehn grabs his head in pain and suffers a vision of a bloody skull with one eye missing. Not too soon after, a group of zombies attack the trio. Curiously, they seem to ignore Tehn during the fight. The group kills the zombies with little difficulty and surmises this must somehow be part of whatever taint Tehn contracted from the arrow.
They arrive back in town and warn the sheriff and Imdar of the tomb’s spectral occupant and they say they will warn people of violating the sanctity of the tomb. As the group is in the middle of a discussion with the sheriff a large sink hole opens up in the center of town! The trio leap into action, and begin lowering rope and helping unfortunate villagers that were swallowed by the sink hole. As the three try to lend their aid, other villagers around the pit, try to stop not only our heroes, but anyone from aiding the villagers or going into the pit. Tehn and Gerdan ignore their pleas and go down into the pit to give aid while Braxton becomes entangled in an argument with a man who adamantly insists they deny aid and not enter the pit.
Braxton manages to end his argument unamicably with the man and assists in the efforts to save the villagers. After all the villagers have been saved, the three examine their surroundings to discover that the sink hole is not simply a hole, but part of a network of caverns that seem to be man made. As our heroes explore the caverns, much to the chagrin of the nay-sayers topside, they find a curious room with a floating stone, another room with a life-like statue of a dwarf (so life-like that they surmise this is an actual petrified dwarf) in front of the statue they find some coins and gems as well as a dagger with an inscription: Reszur. This dagger turns out to be a +1dagger, glows when the inscription is read aloud, and is enchanted to be completely silent. Tehn decides to keep it.
In another room, the three find a room with a large 8ft tall stone with an inscription: “displease not the delvers”, and a boy, pinned beneath rocks in front of the stone whose name is Braelen Hatherhand, son of Rothar. As the group tries to free the boy, a half orc confronts them and tells them to leave and leave the boy where he is. The adventurers hear none of this and brutally incapacitate the half orc. The boy says he is being punished for failing to deliver a letter to Ilmeth, one of the town elders. He also says that this cave system is the work of “the believers” and that they believe in “the Moving Stones,” and that these stones communicate with the believers by mysterious movement. He also names the half orc as a friend by the name of Grund. Braelen is still frightened both by what has happened to Grund, and his overall circumstance, but tentatively agrees to accompany the group. The group then tries to exit out of the initial sinkhole, only to be accosted by a group of 6 men in cloaks who call themselves the Bringers of Woe, and say that they have come to reward the group’s curiousity….with execution! The three combantants manage to take down the six, but not before Tehn is hit with a nasty crossbow shot, nearly killing him. But the party sees to his wound and while Tehn is not fully recovered he is strong enough to continue. After killing the cloaked men, the Braxton and Gerdan get Braelen back up to the surface and involuntarily reunited with his father.
Braxton, concerned for Braelen as the boy had confessed that his father was among the people who incarcerated him, confirms that the boy is indeed okay. And while the father is grateful that his boy is okay, he is also angry that the group interfered at all. As this argument continues, Braxton reveals the groups findings to the public at hand as well as his suspicions as to what has been occurring beneath Red Larch. Neither side really seems to gain any ground against the other, and Braxton, fed up with the talk, goes back down into the hole with Gerdan to explore.
Meanwhile below, not too long after his friends ascended up the rope with Braelen, Tehn hears the voice of an old man asking who is out there and what is going on. Tehn, not wanting to head directly to the voice decides to try and stealthily sneak up on the source and takes a circuitous route toward the sound. Not being careful, Tehn leaves a trail of bloody footprints to mark his passing, not that the voice’s source would be able see it. Half way through sneaking up on the voice, Braxton and Gerdan interrupt Tehn having followed his bloody footprints, blowing any stealth advantage Tehn may have gained. Tehn, somewhat put out but good natured, lets the group go on and directly confront the voice’s source, who is an older man, positioned in front of a door, who seems to have been there for quite sometime. The man seems affable enough, but Braxton and Gerdan, already short tempered due to their exchange with the people above dismiss the man who reluctantly acquiesces to their demands, granting the group entry into the room beyond.
This room is large and holds the large “moving stones” that the group had heard of. As group starts to investigate the stones, Gerdan is ambushed by a spray of acid from a strange, older, but fit man in his 50’s wearing dark earth tone robes. As the group moves in to fight the man, he proves to be exceptionally fast, and capable of moving rock at will. Tehn is astounded by this ability, and equally astounded that he is capable of a similar ability, albeit on a much smaller scale -something that has not happened to him in a long time. During combat the man reveals that he is part of something called the Dark Earth Cult. With quite some difficulty, the three force the mysterious man to retreat from them into a bolt hole in the room. As the group pursues, the man throws a lever that causes the bolt hole to cave in on itself. Tehn and Braxton, not dissuaded by the cave-in, dig through the rubble (Tehn using his newfound ability to move earth), and find that the man was killed by the very trap he set off. On his body we find 4 bars of iron that seem to be a foreign trade currency as well as a medallion with the elemental symbol for earth on it. The bolt hole empties into the back of Waevlur’s Wagon Works in Red Larch, which is where the group emerges.
When group gets back outside, they find the sheriff questioning a line up of 5 people. Among the people are Alliberry Maliko, Dornan Firestone, Rothar Hatherhand and 2 others.
Braxton interrupts the proceedings and tells the sheriffs of his groups most recent findings. Upon hearing all of this, Alliberry cracks and reveals what she knows of the events.
Apparently, the “Believers” started near the beginning of Red Larch’s founding, the quarry miners discovered the stones and soon after discovered they moved and began to interpet their movement. But a few weeks ago the old man, whose name she says is Larok, came to town. Larok started at the quarry and managed to ingratiate himself with the Believers, and convinced them he could interpret the movement of the stones better than they could. After having done that, he began to give orders to the believers that were more and more sinister, while claiming it served a greater good, and used his ability to move earth to position the stones according to his orders and predictions. Abduction and ritual sacrifice were among the deeds Larok convinced the believers to perpetrate.
Heartbroken and weeping Alliberry claims they thought it was for the greater good. The three heroes, having heard this, leave the sheriff to decide how to proceed, and take the bars they found to Arthur for appraisal. They turn out to be bars from the Mirabar Delegation, a group that had disappeared 10 days ago. The 3 don’t know quite what to make of this, nor have they managed to make sense of the curious cursed arrow and it’s undead taint that plagues Tehn, not mention the appearance of this Black Earth Cult. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the heroes will do next!