After escaping the Tahotra camp with a group of twenty-five tired and hungry captives, the Falconiers set on a journey through the woods to find the nearest village. After a three day journey where there was little in way of food and water, they saw the city walls of a small mountain village. A worn sign hung from the gate and read “Welcome to Cloudmouth"
A brief encounter on the path with a pair of fur traders and a tiefling traveler delayed the Falconiers entering Cloudmouth immediately, but soon the group entered the town. Jiantou and Vigo split from the party and entered the Drunken Eagle for a meal and some ale while Balvenie and Rolen took the refugees to the trade hall.
The internal struggle that plagued Rolen rose to the surface as he entered the hall and discovered that he could possibly sell the refugees into slavery, rather than setting them free. As he bartered for the price of gold per soul, he failed to realize that Balvenie’s patience had run thin outside. After more than a few minutes, Balvenie produced 100 gold pieces from his pouch and handed it to the refugees, telling them to get lost. He entered the hall and told Rolen the refugees had left, just as Rolen had struck a deal. After quickly back-tracking, Rolen and Balvenie left to find the rest of their party.
The adventurers were reunited in the Drunken Eagle, where they found Jaintou and Vigo sitting with the stranger they met on the road outside of Cloudmouth. Seemingly annoyed with his new companions, the tiefling, identifying himself only as "S", was quiet while the Falconiers caught each other up on what had happened to the refugees. It wasn’t long before Drex the Distiller approached the new faces and began filling them on the gossip of the town, encouraging them to get the latest news from Hogan, the proprietor of Hogan’s Hardware and Pawn and Impact Winter Survival Center.
The adventurer’s left the Drunken Eagle, departing ways with S, and head toward Hogan’s Hardware. There they discovered Hogan, a man of many passions. He was familiar with the ways of wandering adventurers and was excited to share his stories and theories on what was happening in the region, including the surprising water shortage within Cloudmouth.
After presenting the scroll with the mark of the Black Claw Mages to Hogan, he told the adventures all he knew of the shadowy organization. He revealed a large wall with connected events and individuals (connected at least in his own mind). He explained that while the Mandrata were the immediate threat, he believed the Black Claw Mages were the foul force behind the recent events. Hogan had a cipher key that was discovered near Cloudmouth, but after much anticipation, it failed to decode the message of the scroll. He told the Falconiers that, should either of them find another key, that they should reconnect.
Before taking leave, Hogan shared the news from Turbery, where Ruby Reid and the others of Mandrata had gone to mourn the death of Wilhelm Walker. Rumors were spreading of an internal power struggle for the succession of leadership. The primary parties involved being Ruby Reid, Wilhelm’s son Eric Ali, and a mysterious woman named Amara.
Departing from Hogan’s the Falconiers headed to the town hall and found themselves in a large crowd that had gathered at the mid-day market. While they pushed through the crowd, Belvenie was surprised to discover his prized flask was missing. He should to the crowd “Who took my flask!” and a trio of mountain men took offense, believing Belvenie's words were accusing of them.
A fight quickly broke out and the idling townsfolk quickly formed a ring around the scuffle, too interested to leave but not wanting to get pulled into the fight. The strength of the Falconiers quickly prevailed after a few well timed spells and the strongest of the mountain men being charmed by Rolen.
While the fight was taking place, Jiantou noticed small footprints leading away from where they’d discovered the flask was missing. Jiantou tracked the footprints and found the flask in the possession of Carvin Hollowpot, the trader they’d met as they arrived at Cloudmouth. Grabbing him by the back of the neck, Jiantou brought him to the rest of the Falconiers. At the same time, Fennick, the chief of the town council, arrived to break up the fight. The still charmed mountain man was more than willing to vouch for the Falconier’s as a character witness, and rather quickly the crowd dispersed, disappointed that there wouldn’t be continued fight.
The story of the stolen flask was shared and the adventurers, Fennick, and Carvin went to the town hall to formally charge Carvin with theft. Carvin put up a fight and tried to tell Fennick about the slaves he saw the Falconiers traveling with. As they were heading to the council, Carvin points to S, who’d been observing the fight, and said “Hey, that’s one of them too!” and Fennick demands that S join them.
Shortly after arriving at the town hall the issue of the stolen flask is quickly resolved, but the more pressing issues of the town linger in the air. Fennick expressed his deep concern that the town was running out of water and, after seeing the adventures fight the mountain men, he believed they might be up for the challenge of tracking down the cause of their well running dry.
Fennick called in Caitlyn Crookbrow and Shank, two of his assistants, to share what they’d discovered in their investigations. Shank was a man of few words, but Caitlyn had plenty to spare. She told the adventures that the town is fed by a single underground river and that the well had never run dry in the past. She’d descended into the well and it is empty minus a few puddles. The town will quickly run out of water if the cause of the well drying up is not discovered. She also shared the rumors of shadowy creatures being seen climbing into and out of the well in the middle of the night. Those who’ve seen the creatures were convinced that they were demons or ghosts and were the sure sign that Cloudmouth was cursed.
Fennick pleaded with the Falconiers to investigate. They agreed to the request and ask that S join them. S shares that he we will reluctantly join as he came to hunt a fiend, which might be the source of these shadowy figures. Fennick also commands Shank to join the group as a guide through the town and into the well.
The party went to the town well and climbed down into the damp space below. Each of them was surprised to discover that the well is a vast cavern, but there was no water. A few small puddles on the floor provided barely a bucket or two of liquid. After searching the space, they discovered a fairly crude door, camouflaged as the rock wall, covered a tunnel at one end of the well. They removed the door and see a long tunnel with smooth walls, likely the original source of water for the well.
S leads the way through the tunnel, but is exceedingly cautious when they arrive at a depression in the tunnel that is filled with water. Concerned of a pit or potential trap, he paused. Rolen stepped forward and, using his orbs of light, identifies that there is no danger and the group presses on. As they exit the tunnel, they are met with another large cavern. In the middle was a small stream about ten feet wide. To their left the stream continued and disappeared into darkness. To their right, a crudely made dam of large boulders filled a large archway. Across the stream was a cliff about fifteen feet high which seemed to be the normal “shore” of the river. It was obvious that this dam had not always been here and was the cause of the empty well.
Crossing the river was a bridge of hasty design and a wooden ladder leaned against the cliff. The adventures crossed the river, some by the bridge, others by jumping, and Jiantou used the dam as a springboard. As Jiantou landed, a javelin flew by him. Looking up, he saw two goblins on top of the dam. One of the goblins was reading another javelin while the other was trying to break some of the rocks free to cause an avalanche onto the group.
Jiantou quickly scaled the boulders and fired two crossbow bolts, causing massive damage to the foul creatures. The battle is over nearly as quickly as it started and the group pressed forward to discover what else is present in the cavern. S climbed the ladder first followed by Shank. At the top they found a rudimentary lift, already lowered to additional caves below. Nearby an entrance to another cavern was lit by the flickering flames of a fire. Jaintou, Belvenie, and Rolen joined S and Shank. They decided to rush in and take the room by surprise.
Jiantou went first and placed two precise crossbow shots into goblins that barely registered he’d entered the room. Belvenie was the next to act and he cast thunderwave which decimated the remaining brutes. After a quick search the group took a moment to get their bearings and decide their next course of action. It isn’t long before they are each standing around the lift, looking down to the level below…