Party of: Bubble (and Squeak), Dex, Hefen, Aeren, Kira (new friend!)
Spent 4 weeks of downtime learning Draconic with Zenwin, got splint barding for Squeak and bought a horse.
Set out to investigate the snek steppes to the east on the 18th Ornion
Headed south east along the coast, bitterly cold wind. Found the mouth of the river into the forest ~10 miles from town.
Beach widens out and turns south 16 miles from town. There are hills to the east from there, and shallow shoals out to sea to the west. We spotted a snowstorm over the hills, and a big mountain 16-20 miles south east from where the beach widens out.
Looking for "Fort Manticore", supposedly somewhere near the big mountain.
Decided to head to the mountain through the hills, ran into big snowstorm and then vulture riders!
The vulture riders were part of the Howling Hatred, and their leader had snakes for arms!!
Aeren talked to them, and we found out they worship Yan-C-Bin, Elemental Prince of air??
Apparently there's a prophecy?? About adventurers coming to help them??? We talked it over and decided to go with them, but I was pretty suspicious.
They want us to hunt a great beast for them – a Manticore! And it turns out they have more Kenku at their base :O
We camped overnight, but I still wasn't sure what their deal was so I snuk around with my sneaky spell to hear what they were saying. Had to get Dex to translate from Abyssal, but they didn't understand why "Yssa" was trusting this mission to outsiders. We spotted some Griffons on watch but they left us alone.
Also Aeren spoke to the big vultures, who speak common! Apparently they live on an Aerie on the coast? Also found out the Howling Hatred are fighting the Black Earth to the east, "evil" people they said. Also also whoever "Yssa" is to the Howling Hatred she's not "one of them" (snake person?).
Continued on in the morning, heading around the south-east side of the mountain. Arrived at Fort Manticore which is to the south of the mountain, about 16 miles from where we made camp.
Fort Manticore is really huge! I flew up on my broom (note: BROOM IS THE BEST THING, WAY BETTER THAN THE BOOTS) and into the vulture landing zone, but they told me to go through the front door :(
FM is on a cliff edge (south side), with big thick stone walls and a tower about 150ft high. Looks like it was guarded by more snek people (Yuan-Ti I think) and some Windy Bois™ (air elementals?). Spotted a barracks, a kitchen, stables and a pond.
Went back to join the others, were met at the front door by a lady with snakes for legs ("Nightmare Speaker"), led inside the tower. I saw some kenku!! Wanted to talk with them but we had to go inside.
Went inside, met with Yssa – she's a very tall (7 feet) and beautiful elf lady that Aeren said was from the Feywild(????). Apparently they Howling Hatred have seers who prophesied a group of adventurers would come to their aid. She said I was "Bubble the Pure" and I'll take it :)
We asked her some questions, turns out the Black Earth worship Ogremoch, elemental prince of earth (noticing a pattern here). The mountain the HH are near is called "The Lance" and they have a sacred place there where their people go to learn to FLY (?!?!). Explains why there's so many kenku with them (why haven't I heard of this place until now?) and they are offered "hope" from Yan-C-Bin.
So we agreed to take on this Manticore hunt in return for some stuff and headed back out to meet our guide. When we got outside I went to find the kenku, and met a new friend called [sound of beak tapping on wood] or Beak for short!! He's been here 3 years apparently. I gave him a present of Aeren's laughter and a ride on the broom, he seemed very happy but had to go back to work. As we left I could hear all the other kenku laughing like Aeren :D
We met our guide, another differently-snaked person (snake head, humanoid legs) called Thteeven, who took us to the north-west of the fort to a screaming canyon (around 8 miles away). The wind rushes through the canyon and makes a really spooky screaming noise, that'll be good to use later if I need to scare someone :)
We snuk up on the Manticore's lair with my sneaky sneaky spell, turns out there was one really big Manticore and two regular sized Manticores. So we set up a boulder trap, and I got Wesley, Rafiki and Axey from the bag to help. And then we lept into battle!
The boulder missed but we fought the two regular manticores easily, I took one down with an arrow and Kira made a really big noise that hurt them bad. The big one started flying and then Hefen did the COOLEST THING EVER!!! She ran up and PUNCHED THE BIG ONE OUT OF THE AIR AND PUNCHED IT MORE ON THE WAY DOWN, THAT SHIT WAS DOPE.
After some more fighting with help from Thteeven we slew the beasts, Aeren smiting the big one so hard it exploded. Then we found a bunch of loot! 3000sp, 2600gp, 100pp, 2x Amber, 2x Amethyst, 3x Jade, Pearl, Tourmaline and some Adamatine breastplate armor :O
We took the head and the tail back to the Howling Hatred and were greeted as heroes! Yssa gave us a choice of rewards and we took a "Ring of Free Action" whatever that is and they had a feast for us and Aeren got a special reward of SEX.
Feast was great fun, I told all the kenku about what happened with sound effects and gave them all rides on my broom, it was the best. Talked to Thteeven and the others some more, found out they have another fort at the base of the Lance at the pass, on the south side. Called it their "Bastion". Also apparently there's an even windier canyon not too far from where we fought the Manticore, and maybe an entrance to the Underdark???? Also to further east are wetlands and then where the Black Earth lives. And to the south over the water there's the swamps of the "Crushing Wave".
The next day we set out to head home, Dex had to go early but that was OK. Aeren came down eventually ;) ;) ;) and we decided to go look for the Windswept Canyon. We followed the loud wind from the Manticore canyon and found and even windier canyon with people on gliders that smashed into the cliff wall :S
I sensed around 20-30 cultists, we found a little settlement there with people learning to fly with kites. We tried to get in but they wouldn't let us, I think if we go back another time when they've heard about what we did it should be ok. Found another kenku friend called [sound of wind].
Then we decided to head home properly, went back through the hills, got caught in blizzard and had to camp. Went back the next day along the beach, ran into some Merrow and a Water Elemental but nothing we couldn't handle. Arrived back on the 21st of Ornion.