The Silent Mountain

Resting for the night in the heart of the high plateau amongst the strange cairns that dot the hills, the Silk Glove choose a cold supper and no fire. There is little in the way of cover and the rugged adventurers curl up close together against the hoarfrost that rises early in the night to cover their sleeping bodies. Claudia takes the first watch and is visited in starlight by a huge boar, it seems to bear no malice though it carries with it a sense of great dignity and age. The creature passes on into the night in the direction of the Silent Mountain. The final watch is also disturbed when Puff is thrown from a deep reverie by a blinding white flash up in the sky, as he blinks away the afterglow and shouts an alarm, he gets a sense of great power at once nearby and distant. There is no further disturbance but the party, now wakened decide to make an early start and head off towards the Monastery before the grey dawn has broken.

Arriving at the monastery, our heroes are greeted by a lone woman at the foot of a long rise that climbs to the gatehouse above. She is wearing the robes of a nun and carrying a huge lop-eared rabbit. She welcomes the visitors and tells them that they were expected. She tells them that the children in the monastery are now novices and that whilst they are no longer bound to wear their habitual burkahs, they are not used to the company of men. The dragonborn are welcome to come up to the mountain but the human must remain below. There are stables that can act as guest rooms and the party decide to decline the offer and make themselves comfortable outside the edifice.

Before they settle into the guest quarters, the party have the opportunity to ask a few questions of their host, Sister Thalis, Mother Superior of the Silent Mountain. They discover that the monastery takes the children in as neophytes and they are immediately taken through a ceremony of passing where they become novices. The sisters find that the children often need support in coping in a social environment with their peers - and they find that giving them animals to look after helps with this process - hence the rabbit. As the novices learn to adapt to their new lives they travel away from the Silent Mountain and most of the current cohort and very junior indeed.

Later in the day, three sisters take a pack of excited dogs from the kennels near to the guest quarters, and amongst them is Salix in animal form. He gains entry to the monastery but is quickly recognised by the excited children as a newcomer. The extra attention is noticed and Sister Thalis summons him into her chambers where he is told that his snooping is not exactly within what is understood as polite behaviour and he is invited to leave.

Later that evening a message is sent inviting the party to move quarters to guest rooms that have been prepared within the monastery provided that Salix does not take human form. They move into the more pleasant quarters that have been vacated for them in the fortified gatehouse. Whilst moving in Clauia notices a heap of broken pottery, what at a distance appears as shattered jugs, a closer inspection reveals as many statuettes recognisable as of a boar.

That evening Claudia accepts a request to answer some questions on the nature of Dragonborn from the inquisitive pupils, she is asked to make no reference to her god and to accept that some matters will be taboo, Sister Thalis will advise. The presentation is a success and the paladin and her faithful dog return to their quarters nonplussed by the civilised nature of the place. They return to find that Puff's earlier torpor has overtaken him and he is soundly asleep.

Late that night Salix is woken by lights on the plain outside, and below above each of the hundreds of cairns below a pillar of white light flashes up into the sky. This is silently repeated several times and then all returns to the darkness of a starlit night. Having scouted in bat form, Salix reports back to Claudia that there is a light in the library above the scriptorium on the far side of the monastery but no other sign of life. Puff cannot be roused and so the two of them head out into the new fallen snow to see what mischief is about.

In the library the candle is untended but a search of the room reveals a secret passageway running down from the fireplace, through the chimney. Far to tight a squeeze for a dragonborn in armour, Salix is able to transform them both into slim elves and they descend far below the foundations and into a cavern in the living rock. Below them is a desk and other furniture and at the desk is sister Thalis, she turns to face them clearly surprised and not entirely welcoming.

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