The adventurers find themselves resting in an average inn on the Trade Way, a few dozen miles from their destination – Ravenstone. A ravenous storm gnaws at the inn's outside, rain biting at the window panes loudly and unceasingly while cacophonous thunder roars intermittently, like the sound of giant boulders being dropped from the sky. The following morning, they emerge to damp, drizzly overcast and a dense fog that hangs in the air. Making their way down the road, they come to a point where Ravenstone emerges from the tendrils of the fog, as the wispy grey opaqueness slowly unveils the town. On the wind, they hear the sound of a bell ringing, metronomically – Bong… Bong… Bong… The sound getting clearer as they approach.
Welcome to Ravenstone
- Looping around to afford a better scouting view of the town, the party notices a plethora of boot-print tracks parading away from the village to the Northwest, the direction of Ardeep Forest. Headed in the opposite direction – from the forest to Ravenstone – are the large, three-toed talon tracks of some kind of bird. From a perch midway up a tree, Kay notices that the town has been bombarded; numerous three-meter-high boulders lay strewn about the entire town, both about and through many of the buildings.
- As they approach the town, weapons drawn, the party see two canine creatures gnashing fervently at the corpse of a dog. The party approach, Thaldrak shooing them away from the dead creature, but not before the canines engage. They charge at the party, but prepared for trouble, the sorcerers T'avin and Arentian blast the creatures, while Kay fires off a deadly arrow into the spine of another. Both creatures are dead within moments, but not before Kay notices a robed creature approaching from the other side. Black, feathered and a shortbow in hand, the creature repetitiously caws out mimicked nonsense as it lets an arrow fly into the shoulder of Enthoril. Though it's not long before this creature, too, is roasted by T'avins bonfire and crumples to the earthen ground, dead among burning wheat.
- The party then made their way to the temple – a place of worship for Lathander and another god represented by a unicorn - where the bell continued to ring. Cautiously, they call up the tower, only to hear the voice of a little girl, "help me, help me!" Setting a plan into motion, Thaldrak and Enthoril leap into action heading toward the tower, but not before being pelted by dropped vials of Alchemist's Fire. T'avin, not to be outdone in the art of incineration, ignited the bell tower, as the party watched the flames rise, quickly consuming the temple in angry fires. They came outside and saw two Kenku making their way out of a hatch atop the bell tower, one managing to get a shot off at T'avin that sinks into his leg, but not before being pelted with firebolts, a ray of frost and Kay's arrows. Losing its balance, the creature plummeted to the ground, crumpling into a heap at the foot of the religious inferno. The other Kenku made its way to the other side of the tower, out of sight.
- Further investigating the town, the party eventually make their way to the stables, where the sounds of whinnying horses beckons. However, they notice two of the feathered, hooded creatures moving about them, rolling and tumbling in a comically lame effort to hide in plain sight. Continuing the ruse, Enthoril tries to move into the stables, to turn the trap back onto the odd creatures. Thaldrak unsteadily replies, but inadvertently alerts the tumbling creatures and resorts to the performance of blade over bluff.
- Soon, a full fight breaks out, as the Kenku – as T'avin has identified them – rush about, frantically avoiding the blades of Thaldrak and Enthoril, while being pelted by arrows of Kay and firey or frosty vengeance from T'avin and Arentian. Within moments, one of the Kenku are down while arrows hail from the Eastern watchtower, looming above the adventurers. Kay, T'avin and Enthoril keep watch over the Ravenstone Inn, where another of the Kenku has begun barricading the door. Suddenly, Arentian leaps into action, rushing toward a nearby shuttered window and bursting through splintered wood and glass… but not totally making it into the cluttered bedroom, beyond. Sprawled among glass and shambles, Arentian gathered himself as a Kenku from within rushed toward him, sword at the ready. The blade dove toward Arentian's face, but bounced off from a force field that the sorcerer created, saving him from the bloodthirsty creature. Thaldrak came to his rescue, then, bursting into the farmhouse and slamming the Kenku in the back with a crossbow bolt. He payed for his bravery, however, as the Kenku returned the blow with a jousting jab of it's shortsword, that hit Thaldrak right in the gut. Returning the favour, Arentian came to Thaldrak's aid, then, pounding it in the back of the head with a blast of ice that sent it sprawling to it's knees, dead before it hit the ground.
- Meanwhile, Enthoril smashed the shutter and glass of one of the inn windows, revealing the clutter within, and a peculiar sight. A blonde woman, wearing a black vest and tight black pants, made her way down the stairs, a hand crossbow loaded and ready. A live snake – green and yellow – was coiled around her left arm, from shoulder to wrist. Nodding to one another, Enthoril signalled to the Kenku barricading the door, as it fell dead with a sickening thwack, the woman's crossbow bolt finding it's target. The party learned her name was Kelly, a resident of Ravenstone who told them of the Kenku, and the chaos that resulted in the village's current state. She said that the previous night, the village was bombarded by giant boulders, which came plummeting from the stormclouds above. The villagers fled the city toward the forest, and Kelly spoke of massive, blue-skinned humanoids which then landed and tore the Nightstone – a massive, shiny, black stone which occupied the center of the village for all it's history – out from the square before departing. She said that the large creatures wore clothes, and that they appeared to be led by a bald, bearded one covered in purple robes. T'avin recognized these creatures as Cloud Giants. That morning, the abandoned village then found itself being looted by two-dozen of the Kenku.
- The party then checked the Easternmost watchtower, now clear of Kenku, and found signs of them fleeing the village to head to Ardeep forest. One of the Kenku appeared to have an unlucky spill while making it's way down the side of the watchtower to the moat, where it now floated, unmoving. However, Thaldrak noticed six of the Kenku making their way to the Keep, trying to cross the broken bridge. The party then started to discuss what to do – should they head to the forest and try to find the villagers, or head to the keep? Kay and Kelly opted for the forest, arguing that the villagers were a higher priority. Kelly said, too, that there were no survivors remaining in the Keep, and that letting the Kenku go there was just making their own lives easier. Enthoril, Arentian and Thaldrak disagreed, and eventually, the majority won out; they headed toward the keep post-haste. At this moment, T'avin noticed Kelly sharing some private words with Kay, something that he thought he might have picked up on several times, previously.
- Eventually, the party made their way across the broken bridge to the keep, making use of a Hempen tightrope they Macgyvered to get them across. Thaldrak had an unfortunate spill; the rope broke as he tried to cross, and he slammed face-first into a wooden beam. Kelly, too, tumbled into this same beam, but was fortunate enough to break the blow with her shoulder. The party burst into the keep, finding a guard at the mercy of a Kenku above him, fending off the creature's shortsword, weakly. Enthoril rushed in and slashed at the creature, and it spun to face these new attackers, fear in its eyes. This fear was well founded, as Kay sprinted in, tumbled forward and slid across the ground, letting fly a dagger through the legs of Enthoril which tore the throat from the Kenku with such force that the creature's head spun a full 180 degrees. A sickening snap of its spine rang through the foyer above the sounds of combat beyond, and it crumpled to a bloody heap on the ground. A few seconds of silence rang out before the guard returned to his feet, shouting, excitedly, "Holy SHIT! … Holy… SHIT! My name is Kevin, and that was… holy shit…" Kevin directed the party to the doors beyond, where the sounds of ringing metal clanged to signal more combat. The party rushed onward as Kevin remained behind, his wounds being tended to by Kelly.
- Rushing up the stairs and through the single doors to the room beyond, the party found the bodies of two dead guards, while another fell to his back, the Kenku above him sinking a shortsword deep into his neck. Wasting no time, they rushed upon the creature, cutting it down. Two Kenku burst forth from the room beyond, splashing acid at Thaldrak and Enthoril, and while Thaldrak was quick enough to get away, Enthoril couldn't get his shield up in time, as the hissing sound of acid mixed with the smell of burned flesh. T'avin to the rescue, however, as a quick spell put the creatures to sleep in an instant. The sorcerer slit one Kenku's throat – much to the horror of Arentian – while Thaldrak impaled the second. Weakly, it flailed at the fighter and tried to get away, but was easily disemboweled by the longsword. At this moment, Kay decided to check their flanks. Opening a door to the southwestern keep tower, he revealed the lavish dining chamber beyond, and a grievous sight. A richly clothed woman – crushed presumably from the boulders, the night previous, lay bloodied and dead on the table. Kay gasped at the sight, and closed the door. Meanwhile, the party heard the rhythmic thumping of something being dragged up the stairs in the Southeastern tower, and T'avin saw a most peculiar sight. Two Kenku were hurriedly – and clumsily - moving a couch up the stairs. Thaldrak took pursuit after them, and rushed into the room… only to have a couch dropped upon him! He fell to a heap underneath the heavy nobleman's sofa, which splintered and cracked with the blow. Seeing this, Arentian leapt into action, pulling forth his healer's kit and stabilizing his companion. Kay entered the room then, oblivious to the danger, as the two Kenku pelted the companions with arrows. Arentian was able to pull the unconscious Thaldrak from danger, but Kay was not so fortunate. One arrow found its mark in his chest, dropping the halfling in one hit. But again, T'avin to the rescue, as these Kenku, too, found themselves dropping into the dreary, magical slumber put upon them by the sorcerer. One of the Kenku stumbled, leaning upon his ally and twisting over, flopping down a stair or two, but inadvertently pushing his drowsy companion from the unrailed stairway. As he plummeted, that Kenku was sleeping before it reached the ground. Unfortunately for him, however, he would never wake again, as an ear-splitting crunch resounded throughout the tower, the bloodied, feathery mess spattered on the floor while his sleeping companion lay unmoving on the stairs, above. Not to waste the opportunity, Enthoril quickly stabilized Kay, and dashed up the stairs and confiscated the creature's weapons, binding it's wrists and dragging it down below. Meanwhile, the door opened, as Kelly came forth, her hands covered in blood. "I'm sorry…" she said, "but he didn't make it. His wounds were too great. I tried to stem the blood flow, but I couldn't do it!" Enthoril, Arentian and T'avin looked at her, their mouths agape with shock. They began to question her honesty in that, and T'avin cast the spell friends upon her, as she regarded him, admitting to nothing with a shy smile. Arentian just stared at her, too shocked for words. Her smile was short-lived, however, as Enthoril drew his blade and declared her under arrest. She balked, declaring again her innocence, but the paladin of Torm was unyeilding. Then, the friends spell ended, as she turned to T'avin, her brow furrowed and her face flush with rage. She smacked aside the paladin's blade and dashed away, the party in pursuit. Reaching the bridge, she flipped, diving into the water. In mid-flip, she made eye contact with Enthoril, and rose her hand in an obscene gesture. As she plummeted to the moat below, Kelly then swam toward the shore, arrows, firebolts and crossbow bolts flying her way. T'avin snapped the string of his crossbow, but one of his firebolts blasted her in the calf, while one of Enthoril's arrows grazed her side. She cast one angry look back at the trio before dashing off to the West, to the road.