Kestria

The Soren Incident and The Marked Boy in Peril

The Mennonites attack the party. Nearby Kantalar’s brother is with some of the Mennonite troops. He sees the group arrive magically and recognizes them immediately as the friends that his brother spoke to him about the previous evening. They are engaging the Mennonites and it is very suspicious that the command from the officers is given so quickly to attack. Antir puts up an illusory wall to help protect Kantalar’s friends but strangely this is seen, by these same officers, as an act of aggression. In reality it could have worked in either groups favour. But really Antir is trying to buy some time for the Company of the Dragon to co-ordinate themselves. Forced to act to protect himself Antir move to the side of the CotD. Anyway the battle resolves itself and the Eladrin forces win this battle easily. Now the party must negotiate with the Eladrin. Sierka and Antir convince the Eladrin that something else is going on and they give them an Elvish guide named Sapphire to watch them and help the party.

On our way back to Soren we pass by a normal farm cottage with a barn and there is this weird Gnome there who asks for our help to get his cat off the top of the barn with a grain silo. Sapphaire climbs up and falls through the roof and into the grain. Things get pretty tense as Sapphire begins to drown in the grain. Thoradin ends up in there as well trying to swim but the problem is Dwarves cannot swim. Showing remarkable ingenuity Sierka pulls some levers and the grain pours out of the silo and into the barn saving Sapphire and Thoradin. Sapphire is not looking good and is in desperate need of rest. The gnomish person is very grateful and gives us a little flute/whistle and says if we ever need help to just blow and it will come.

We make our way to Soren to find the duke. Antir knows his location because Kantalar has told him. He is at Tommnen’s house, who is Sierka’s stepfather an important trader and person in Soren. So we go there and Sierka is confident that she get us into the house. The guards are uncooperative and ask us to disarm but we refuse. Eventually, they let us in and we are dire need of a rest. Sapphire scouts around the house. The Duke’s family seems to be separated and locked in a room. The situation within the house is tense and appears as if something is not quite right. Anyway we wait around resting when we a hear somekind ritual being performed. Then we hear a commotion of a people leaving. We look out the window and see the marked boy with Tommnen and some guards. The party moves into action. Thoradin jumps out the window down to the first floor. Sapphire shimmies down a rope on the side of the building, Sierka and Altais follow. Antir casts sleep on Tommnen and the boy and the guards they are slowed, they are not going to get away. Tommnen and the boy fall asleep. More guards, a martial expert and a wizard come to the fight. It is a sprawling encounter. The party is spread out we need to gather up and focus. Sapphire is shredding the guards. Thoradin is plowing the battlefield. Altais is trying to keep up. Sierka is thinking dark thoughts about her stepfather. Antir is trying to bring everything under control. Doesn’t Altais look rather like Tommnen; an odd thought that occurs to everyone else except Sierka and Altais. Eventually, we keep the boy and find out the Duke is strapped to chair with a thorn in his back. Sierka puts her stepfather in a cupboard under the stairs. The Avendi are here in Soren and they are looking for the boy. The ritual was to protect this location from being discovered and to set up a meeting.

The duke is strapped to a blackthorn on the chair. We manage to ease his discomfort by taking the chair apart but we are not confident of dealing with the blackthorn. Maybe the Eladrin can help in this matter so Sapphire returns to ask for help and report the Dawn Invoker. Antir needs to speak with General Caleth but waits to rest. Thoradin is gripped with a growing earthsense. Sierka is plotting her stepfather’s cruel end and Altais is so vague in his conversations it is like he is not even there. Suddenly Thoradin gets up growling with rage and heads out the door. Everyone follows except Sapphire who has not returned yet. We scout around and calm Thoradin down. At specific points along ley lines the earth is being corrupted into violence. We go back to the house and wait for Sapphire to return.

On her way back Star Sapphire encounters a meeting between the Avendi and Arch-Prelate of Menon. They are discussing the marked boy, the book of Asuras and the impending battle at Soren between the Eladrin and the forces of Pharanathia. Arch-Prelate has a strange small dragon-like mount with him. The Mennonite has some plan to overwhelm the Eladrin using the earth and it will probably destroy Soren in the process. The Avendi say the marked boy is more important. They will hunt for the boy because the rendevous to hand him over did not eventuate. The party of adventurers are nothing to them, they can kill us any time. Star returns with news of the Dawn Invoker coming soon and the conversation she overhead. Thoradin already boiling with rage is compelled to act to protect the earth. Quick decisions are made we take the boy and the Duke, his Wizard, family and entourage must find there own way to safety. Off we go follwing Thoradin’s lead. We find an tent and encampment of Mennonites the party approaches and Antir speaks to them but they are strangely hostile. This is not normal behaviour but it reminds of the same attitude at the portal fight. Combat begins quickly and Thoradin rushes into the tent unable to control his rage. He confronts four large earth elementals. A ritual is being performed he disrupts it. He calms down but finds himself on the wrong side of the battle. Meanwhile the rest of the party is fighting the Mennonites. Altais is trying to get to Thoradin. Sapphire is doing her usual stabby stabby and moving around the fight effortlessly. Antir has locked the enemy down with visions of treasure, also they think they have transported to some nightmarish realm. Sierka curses them unleashes her powers of radiance and fear. The plan of the Arch-Prelate is ruined. Some of the Mennonites escape.

We are moving on… trying to figure out what to do next. North to the Eladrin is the best option as we must get the boy to safety. Then the Arch prelate arrives. He is of course another one of those Cambrian devils. We are in a battle with him and we realize the Avendi will be coming soon. He drops down gets off his mount and the battle begins. The Drake goes down quickly and reverts to statue forms. “Glory”! shouts Antir to Sierka, “the statue the keyword is glory.” It is at this time that Antir figures out the riddle on the drake statue in the party’s possession. There is nothing like the heat of battle to stimulate the mind, well for a small amount time at least. The prelate, Cambrian, is taking the hits and bursts into a flaming devilish humanoid. He flys up into the air and calls for the Avendi. Run away, run away, TPK, the Avendi are coming to play. Sierka mounts her Drake, grabs the boy and flys back to Soren. The irony of this is that Sierka does not even like children. The prelate follows teleporting his way though the party. The Avendi arrive as everyone follows Sierka. At some point in time Sapphire finds out that the Dawn Invoker is dead and feels she must report to command. Altais remembers the whistle from the little gnome and blows it real hard. The person arrives and offers to help. Thoradin has been sucked into some chaos realm and comes back with Leskin the now naked monk. Antir pings magic missile proving that its effect puny and stupid. The gnome turns into a Silver dragon and Leskin starts to fight together with him. This is the second irony of this awesome battle. Two of the Avendi are taken down and the leader flees. The Arch prelate is dead and so another one bites the dust.

Now what do we do. We go back to Soren. Sapphire goes to do her duty and report to the Eladrin. Antir goes to find general Caleth. He discovers that the streets are paved with soldiers gone mad. He brings one back and Altais heals him with delay affliction. He says he needs to get the ritual remove affliction. Thoradin, Altais and Antir work out a pyramid scheme to get the soldiers rounded up and healed by the clerics of the temples in Soren. Antir looks for general Caleth but finds him disappeared. It takes hours to get enough soldiers to control the rest of the soldiers but eventually the system is in place and working. The party is exhausted and rests for 6 hours. Meanwhile, Sapphire is with the Eladrin who are deciding to continue the attack on Soren. She informs them that the earth magic trap has been disrupted. When they arrive at dawn they find that the place is in chaos and there is no point attacking. The Eladrin help the people of Soren. Sierka and Antir speak with the Eladrin and explain much of what they have seen and heard over the last few months. The marked boy must be protected. The book of Asuras needs to be found. The Eladrin lady tells them to go to the library of Eladrin city. She also tells them that the Savage Sages might know more about the mark on the boy. She thinks he is somekind of vessel for the soul of a god. Sometimes having more information leads to more awkward questions.

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FROM ROLO TO SOREN – A DEVILISH TALE

FROM ROLO TO SOREN – A DEVILISH TALE

Back in Rolo the old duke has died and the whole city is in mourning. The palace appears to be shut up with the grief. Thoradin insists that we investigate the Black Drake Company immediately. We travel there and make an appointment through the contact in the diary of the Bard from vampire hall. Yes we are still carrying around the Eladrin vampire in a bag of holding. On the way we notice some strange posters that depict the Harletta as a worshipper of Correllon in a negative way. Then we encounter a fight breaking out between some Mennonites and guards of the royal family. In the process Sierka stabs a kill a little boy. Crazy stuff happens. People are running. We go to the nearest inn and fail to keep our discussion private. So that when return for the appointment we are met in a room by a halfling and some guards, who we now know to be dopplegangers. I fight breaks out. We are not going to win this one so we flee. Someone has the bright idea to let the vampire out into a drama company. Remember she loves to get artists to create their greatest works. We escape mostly intact.

We then make our way to the Riverside Dramatics Arts Society. They engage us to sort out the troubles with the Black Drake Theatre Company; in particular we are to deal with Emerus this strange new owner/principal. We then head to New Castle to speak to Harlotta and she is still in grief for her father so she directs us to speak with Linellas in these matters. We go to the Clericy Mennonite place, chapel. Not thinking this through we find ourselves in a confrontation with the Shroud again. Apart from Sierka being targeted and running around trying to avoid being hit we overwhelm the Mennonite forces. We discover that they were being controlled by a Devilish Warlock (Cambrian). We find Linellas and his Cleric friend in a tower. We explain to him what has happened. And he sets us on a path to find the spymaster of Rolo’s court. She may be able to help find out what is happening with the city guard and what is happening in Rolo. We search the Cambrian’s room and find an interesting statue with a riddle on it. Also a portal which we look through and find a connection to the Gold Chai trading company which seems to be infested with Rakshasa. Somehow there is a connection to the Book of Asuras again and the order of Asuras.

We go to the brothel that Linellas has pointed outto us that we may find the spymaster. After some interesting conversations with the employess and we finally speak to the owner and discover that we need to get into the tunnel with a special coin. Generally the group is ill equipped in this kind of thing no one really knows what to do. Anyway we decide to try to use what contacts we know in Rolo. If only Kantalar was still with us. Altais notices something strange as about the posters and we meet a group of street urchins. Thoradin tries his hardest to gain the confidence of them in is dwarven clumsy kind of way. Anyway they shows this paper they have been given. We follow come a building. Sneak in the back and follow the group of urchins being led under the city. We come to a place where a ritual is being performed. If only we had Magic Missile to disrupt the Devilish Cambrian casting the ritual. Going into the arena is dangerous as the Ritual immediately attacks and controls us straight away. We engage in a battle and take down a few of the bad guys. But they withdraw and we are stuck. The battle stops and the ritual is contuing. Thoradin strangely starts tearing at his clothes. The rest of the party is rather confused until they see him trying to stuff large strips of cloth into his ears. The rest of the party figure out what he trying to do and follow suit with smaller more manageable bits of cloth.

We re-engage and start the battle some us almost get controlled again but we manage to disrupt the Emerus Cambrian this time and now the battle begins. It is dangerous and most of the party is captured. Dante and Sierka escape in different directions. Sierka is scrambling over the top of as many children as possible to put them between her and Emerus who is furious. Dante find himself in the tunnel they were looking and he has absolutely no idea what to do in this situation. The phrase ‘fish out of water’ would sum this situation up perfectly. Altais, Thoradin and Velin escape the cart they were being carried in. They are chased and easily defeat their guards. The panicky nature of Altais did not help the situation but again Thoradin compliments this with his ability withstand punishment and deal it at the same time.

Meanwhile Sierka, ponders what she should do and proceeds to go to Harletta and tell her of the situation and it also means she can have bath. Dante on the other hand manages to discover a lot of things in the tunnel that he wishes he could share with his new friends. Somehow he manages to find the spymaster without getting into too much trouble. This is an experience he will never forget and one he does not want to repeat. The dirty and creepy place of thieves and thugs just makes him want to burn it all to clean out the mess these people live in. But he also realizes that perhaps some of them like it this way but he cannot understand why.

Anyway we all gather up again with Linellas who gives us a map of the compound where Emerus is operating from and we embark on a plan to enter the building to deal with the devil. The party is contacted by the assasin who wants his dragon egg back. They decide to give back the egg but Velin throws a full blown tantrum claiming the is egg is his and it is vital for his research. Velin leaves and the party is realizes that he has taken much of the party loot with him. The group decides that it is for the best and just let it him go. So back to the Emerus situation as Thoradin, Altais and Dante scout the location looking for the guards and the best way to get into the back entrance. We decide to get a boat travel the river and get ashore under the walls at night. We make our into the complex and then up into the treasure chamber where figure out the trap and mange to ditrup it long enough to get all the gold out while holding off the bad guys. We manage to find an entrance up in to the tunnel. Dante recongnises the place and Sierka recognizes the thieves’ guild door is above the grate we opened. Here we are with lots of gold and Dante suggests we make a deal with the thieves’ guild get the gold out and we will give them a cut. We are out back at New Castle talking to Linellas when Thoradin feels something happening the City and becomes enraged. Something about an important tree is creating a disturbance in the earth. Any way the final battle ensues, Emerus dies and we get sucked into a portal that takes us to Soren in the middle of a battle about to begin. Thoradin, Altais, Sierka find themselves here but Dante is not with them.

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On the Road to Rolo - A Vampire Story

The Last Adventure for…

Many refugees are leaving Hanreth after the events of the blizzard and dragon crisis. Along the road the party notices some wagon tracks going off road. We find a tree and some kind of shrine to Menon. The names of some people are found here. Thoradin looks around and sees into the distance a person and charges off in his usual dwarfy way. Paelant follows swiftly behind him. On the way they both notice the man has hung himself from a tree branch. Thoradin gets underneath him to hold him up and Paelant cuts him down. Altais is still contemplating the shrine to the people who have been lost. Paelant revives the man to health. We talk to him and find out his story. The wagon has gone off the side of a steep hill and he believes his family is dead. This why is trying to end his life. He did not have the strength to get the bodies from the ravine.

We convince him he need not die as his family would not wish it and offer to help him recover the bodies. Making our way to site with the man. Altais counsels the man. Thoradin, Paleant and Velin go down. The children are dead. The wife survived but is missing. Booted footprints are found as if someone has taken the injured woman somewhere else. Altais manages to get some more information out of the man about a figure who scared them off the road in the middle of the night because they decided not to rest in their escape from Hanreth. We tell the man about his wife and say we will find her and let him know hwat has happened.

Following the tracks and trail as best we can we arrive a woodman’s cabin and cautiously look for the owner. Eventually we talk to the orc and discover he is not unfriendly but prefers to be left alone. He directs us to the town where the men would have been travelling too. We arrive at the town, Three Oaks? We enter the pub and feel unwelcome. Paelant starts asking questions. Some mercenaries challenge him and are inimidated back into their pants. The barman is clearly disturbed and unwilling to talk no matter how hard Thoradin tries. The towns people ask us to leave but we still need to find the refugee’s wife. So we come up with a plan. Velin puts magic mouth on the inn and one on the northern entrance to the town. We set up camp outside the southern gate. During the night someone approaches the camp and we are discovered. Paelant follows the person and eventually loses them. He makes way around the northern side and rests until dawn. On the way he finds a graveyard but decides to leave it until later. Meanwhile, The others settle in for the night. Magic mouth outside the inn goes off.

Paelant sees the futility in asking the publican all over again and decides to go knock on some doors in the town. Velin tries to get behind the bar and see what is in the back. The barman’s wife comes out and tries to get Thoradin to go away. The barman is conlficted. Paelant knocks on a door. The occupants refuse to open but he manages to convince them to tell him more about what is going on. Vampires! Meanwhile, Velin has made is into the backroom and is down the stairs to the cellar. He finds sees someone strange/magical and teleports himself away as the door shuts behind him. He suspects something necromantic is involved. Paelant burst into the inn and decalres, Vampires! The barman and his wife have panicy looks on their faces. A battle begins with the monster from downstairs and the mercenaries. Well we chase them round the pub and its all over rather quickly. But it is not over. There are more mercenaries holding some children hostage. The fight goes through the town. Sierka and Paelant end up in the house with the children. Paelant readies as they threaten the children with knives to their necks. Sierka lashes out and kills one of the children. Paelant turns in shock to look at Sierka. And he gets an unexpected response. He is unsure if she deliberately did it. Anyway the others arrive and one more child dies as the mercenaries are taken down. Paelant cannot believe what has happened. Sierka seems to have explained herself. It is unresolved.

We find out stuff and that the vampires are probably up the road near another town. We go to the graveyard and find two women one of whom we think the refugee’s wife, although we forgot to get a description. Anyway Sierka knows how to deal with the bodies so we stake ‘em and burn ‘em. We make our way up the road and encounter some Menonites on the road. We see they a transporting a prisoner. We assume it is the vampire because we expect them to actually be doing their job as cleric church organisation stuff doers. Paelant talks them into giving up their prisoner by proving they are no match for the party. He shows them Elder Tremmel’s sword and gves it to them. They are cowed and give up their prisoner. Captain Red… and Old Cleric dude. They leave and we uncover the prisoner to find that it is an Eladrin Emmisary and she is on her way to see the King of Pharanthia. Anyway we talk to her and stuff. She takes off and continues on her way.

We come to the large mansion and there are rows of defenses set up in front of the house. We make our way down one of the sides and fight ensues. Crossbows bolts of irritating teleportation and an annoying gay vampire with his friends. We defeat them. We find a room with a journal in it and some interesting information about Rolo and the assassination plot agains the old duke of Rolo. We move on upstairs fight more vampires, Drow and Eladrin. The Eladrin has beautiful voice and is draining man while he writes a song. The Eladrin vampire promises to help get rid of the Drow vampire and the Gay Half-Elf vampire. She tells where they are. We find the coffins guarded by some flesh golems who pound a way at Thoradin. The Drow dude comes out to play the fight is not going well. It is our third encounter without a rest. Thoradin is running out of surges. Altais is almost out of healing. Paelant has been holding off the Drow vampire. Velin has been slowly whitling down some of the monsters. Sierka is panicking. The Eladrin vampire turns up weeping about her betrayal. She goes after the Drow vampire and misses repeatedly. Thoradin is on his last toe. Paelant gives him temporary HPs and Paelant moves him out of the way of the remaining flesh golem. Paelant is pulverized into mush by the Flesh Golem, who critically hits him. Thoradin damages the fleeing Drow Vampire who has been bloodied and Velin pew pews magic missiles and Sierka misses a lot. Altais moves though to the coffins and destroys them. The battle ends. They find a dirty redheaded guy half-buried in the room his name is Dante von Delian and he is from Oradea. Anyway we negotiate with the vampiress to help us if help her. We do not close the portal to dark fey.

We make our way back into the house to speak to the owner when outside Dante, who was leaving, encounters a small army of Menonites. He makes his way back to the river part gets into the boat the others arrive and decided to travel together. Brief negotiations the group is travelling together now. The Menonites curse their escape. On the way an argument breaks out between Velin and Altais about the animation of undead creatures. Velin seems to be exploring a hobby that Altais cannot tolerate. Although carrying a vampire around in a sack does not seem much different to Dante. But what does he care it is not his problem other than the fact that he wants to kill the vampire. Better it is not around to destroy more peoples’ live. He is new to this group of people but Thoradin is clearly in charge and what he says goes. Sierka is clearly helping him to come to his decisions. What an interesting group of people. Somehow they have come together and are still talking to each other. Anyway the group finally makes it back to Rolo to continue on whatever they are doing. Velin has sent an animal messenger with news to the refugee man.

Ah yes the funeral of the Old Duke of Rolo.

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Hanreth,Defeating the White Dragon

Blizzard Badness

We make it to Hanreth and look for the threatened children and find locked up in the Temple. We make our way there and warn the people. It takes some doing but when the Dragons arrive we manage to get two thirds of the people into the tombs for safety. Freddy the Skelly comes into the Temple and creates chaos. We rush outside to fight the Dragons. We fight, defeat and almost kill the white dragon (Initrixyl?). The big Chaos Dragon Umunborthos comes down to help after fighting Lesken for most of the time. Eventually the Dragons leave thoroughly humiliated.

We make our way to the lair north of Fernwell but we make a slight detour to visit the Dwarves. We fail to find them and are attacked by the white dragon (Initrixyl?) along the way. Anyway we make our way Fernwell finding Sniverly from the Shadowfell along the way. He is near death and we heal him. We take his stuff as he searches for that book that someone is looking for. Velin lets him go surreptitiously after he was bound. Paelant says let us continue on our way to the lair worry about Sniverly later. We find Leskens pants. We make camp. We do not find Lesken so we decided to continue on to the Dragon’s Lair. We make our own path. We get avalanched. We survive but are fatigued. We make our way into an entrance with traps and side passages. We solve the puzzle of the Dragon’s name due to Thoradin’s brilliant intuition because it is certainly nothing to do with his intelligence. We are devoured into the darkness and crawl into room. We make our way to a throne room. Sierka has to put the crown on. She disappears and Altais looks for secret doors. He finds a door behind the throne. In there is another room with big double-door that has a cube shaped lock. We still cannot find Sierka. Boris tries the crown on and nothing happens. Boris jams the crown into the cube shaped space and disappears and Paelant does the same. They find themselves naked outside the entrance. They go back inside and back to the party. Velin asks if they found Sierka. So they jam the crown back in the cub-lock and look for signs but being naked it is really cold. Thoradin, Altais and Velin make it back to the entrance and Paelant points the way she went. Velin pulls some clothes out of his bag oholding and Boris and Paelant gratefully put them on. Thoradin rescues the naked Sierka and covers her with his cloak. The party attempts to rest in one of the rooms. Boris fails to notice a large worm slurping on Velin. Eventually he does and the worm is obliterated by Thoradin. Boris and Paelant feel rather inadequate without their stuff. Sierka is still dangerously close to death and needs rest.

We finally get the rest we need and then head back through the dragon door. From the dirty slave sleeping room we make we search out find the various passages. We find a map that describes a ‘pit of despair’. We find a large clay key and inside something is rattling so Paelant smashes the clay key on the ground. We find a pink portal that does the same thing as the crown. Eventually we find the cube (many faces) key which opens the door and we enter into a room full of carvings of dragon battles. The floor is covered in fog which comes out of hole in the floor and above it is a bubble thing containing monster parts forming into some kind of monster. We search; eventually Paelant finds a switch on the ceiling. A door opens to passage way which leads to another door which has a small intricate lock mechanism. While Sierka figured out how to manipulate the lock Velin could no unravel the magical part of the lock. We go searching for another key. We see a carving with a kobold using the key to open the lock. We find the key. Our fingers are to big. Thoradin is curious about the size of the bubble and goes back to touch it and becomes smaller. He has a plan to carry the bubble to the door so someone can make themselve’s smaller. Yes he drops it and we end fighting the monstrous mishmash thingy. We defeat it and do not want to do that again. Paelant tries the arcane lock and succeeds. Open the door to look at pile of treasure. Paelant disbelieves the illusion of the treasure. Anyway we find a wand. There are instructions. We use the wand on the pink portal. We are thru and we then have a big fight with some Black Puddings. Velin Magic Missiles them all to death, one bit at a time. We have not been able to find our stuff. But we find door down into the valley/chasm.

We get to a kobold nest get up the fountain eventually. We find the white dragon (again again) and a long conversation begins. Inistryxl tells us about the Avendi and the Chaos Dragon Umunborthos and the deal that was struck. Kobolds are helping the dragon. Then something weird happens purple tendrils of help us defeat Initryxl. The weird stuff has something to do with Sierka. The blizzard is gone. We still cannot find our missing equipment. So we go back to the trappy mazey place. We tink hard and use the wand and the map to the Pit of Despair. We find it has no air in there and it is dark. We collect our equipement and then get out of there. On our way out of there we find Leskin in some kind of out of body stasis type thinghy. We carry him off back to Hanreth.

On our way back to Hanreth we see the Avendi performing somekind of ritual. We did not figure out what they were doing until later. We charge in and proceed to destroy this evil menace. We get our arses kicked. Velin tries his best to taunt them into not killing us so we rescue him. We lose Leskin as the Avendi leave us to run away. Why did they not kill us we will never know. We walk into Hanreth. Apparently we are not welcome. Guards take us to see some dude. We convince him that we are heroes but his hands are tied so we have to leave. He tells us that there is trouble in Rolo. The Old Duke is about to die and state funreal is planned. We go to Pug’s mug to rest before we leave. Paleant gets bumped. Back to Rolo we go.

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Rolo Episode 1

On the Road

18 April 2011
By ? (?)

Day 16

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Into Rolo

2 May 2011
By ? (?)

Day 17

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Leskin’s Run

16th May 2011
By Velin (Simon)

Day 17 Night

Velin still at home
Party at “Seven Lazy Lads” Tavern

Party hears that Leskin is being held in the highest tower of the Arcane Imperium grounds
Party also hears that Leskin has escaped
Party hears that the Arch Prelate of Menon is dead
Party discusses going to see Lady XXX about Leskin
Velin returns and explains things
Velin offers to go to the Arcane Imperium to see if Leskin is still in the tower
The rest of party go to the castle to see Lady XXX

At the gates of Arcane Imperium Velin is stopped by a man in a brown robe who begs for help and explains that his son is cursed. Velin directs him to the tavern to see Altais. Velin is ignored by those within the Imperium. Velin mage hands one to get attention. Man in red robe talks to Velin and then goes to fetch an official.

Meanwhile rest of party has been stopped at the gate to the castle and told sternly t hat they will not be able to see Lady XXX u8nless that have an appointment and need an appointment to get an appointment, Sierka ruffled

Velin is offered in my old mage XXX who talks his ear off. He attempt to go eat is foiled with kindness, finally during a walk of the grounds Velin steps away and heads to the tower. Velin sees a guard coming out of the tower and in an attempt to be authoritative quickly raises the suspicion of the captain. Velin goes back to old mage XXX and leaves the Imperium frightened and shaken.

Knights ride swiftly past Altais who ignores them. Party meets at tavern, Velin explains what happened.

At the tavern, a friend of (Kantalar?) advises of a new play called "Small Mouse, Big House” to be run in a few nights time. The party suspects that Lady XXX will be there as the play is a cultural tale popular among women, and Leskin may take the opportunity to rescue her. The party makes plans to go to the play.

(Kantalar?) comes up with a plan to weave a subtle message in a story song and sing it at the castle gates in hopes that Leskin will hear and come to them. (Kantalar?) and Boris head of to perform the song and Velin follow bit at a distance. During song a man in a distinct black robe is seen. Party suspects he is Leskin. (Kantalar?)) sings song to pass the message, Velin casts secret messages, party suspects that Leskin has understood and they leave for the tavern hoping that Leskin will come to them soon.

During the night (Kantalar?)) is woken by Ginger Megs (can’t remember actual name) knocking on his door. Ginger advises that he saw a black robed man standing near the dead body of the man in brown robes. (Kantalar?)) begins to doubt whether the black robed man was Leskin and party begin to suspect that Leskin may be bad.

(Kantalar?) goes to the scene and returns with the body of the brown robes farmer. Velin and Boris awaken, Velin becomes more shaken fearing his impending doom of recent events.

Entire party awakens and goes to the house (what house ???) to find Ginger Megs dead in the centre of the floor. A quick search of the bleak house reveals a hidden trap door. Below lay a large well stocked room, the lair of an assassin. Thoradin heads down and immediately sets of an Arcane spy spell. Once down the party uncovers a treasure trove of assassin style weapons and equipment, costumes and papers. They discover what they suspect to be a dragon’s egg in a chest.

The party leaves the house and heads back to the tavern. They are followed by shadowed figures on the rooves. The black robes man appears and reveals himself as not Leskin. The voice of the man is serpentine and his words anger Velin “I killed your father Sarness”. Velin arcs with energy ready to strike him down.

Alley of Blood

30th May 2011
By Velin (Simon)

Day 17 Night continued

Combat erupts as the part attempt to defeat the killer.
Archers fire bolts of death from the surrounding rooves while an arcane wielder curses and marks t he party below. The party finds itself in dire straits as weapons bite flesh and spells ravage the party. The combat is hard and blood flows. Thoradin calls forth his powers but to little end, even Boris and Sierka find it hard to land their spells and their demonic powers go wandering. Kantalar and Sierka are swept aside by the writhing earth controlled by the mage above. Velin launches missile after missile striking the serpentine assassin but he still stands.
At last the combat turns for t he party as the footmen fall quickly followed by the serpentine man as Thoradin’s axe bites deep into his shoulder. Velin silently cries out as he is denied his justice but can not delay as bolts and arcane still rein from the roof.
Sierka blinks and reappears in the form of a common mouse, then Altais follows the same path.
The fate of lives balance on just the swing of a sword.
Then four risers, soldiers of Menon appear n the alley.
“Drop your weapons, you are under arrest for false worship and illegal magic” The party stand ready in defense but unsure of the soldier’s attention.
“Calim’s crew stand down” the lead soldier orders and at once the archers and mage cease their assault.
Carried by the front riders, each one a large sack binding a body. The captain draw’s back the hood to reveal Palant’s mother, and the other reveals XXX. The captain draws a thin bladed knife and threatens it to the throat of the badly beaten woman.
The entire party stands shocked each one unsure how to react. “Drop your weapons” the captain again shouts.
“Why do you have her” Kantalar asks.
Palant begins a skill song to aid him on negotiation.
“I have papers, I am registered Mage citizen” Velin states handing the axeman , a soldier that has stepped forward, but in horror the papers are torn to shreds and he watches them float to the cobblestones.
Palant’s song grown desperate as the blade at his mother’s throat draws a thin red line.
“Here have my weapons” Velin throws his staff to the feet of the capatain but is met only by the arching blade of the axeman. The weapon cuts short of skin but renders his cloak. Velin already broken and bleeding from the previous fight fears for his life, he unleashes a barrage of missile that he had held in his breath.
Combat erupts once more and it is quickly clear that the snipers above are with the soldiers. Blade and axe erupt from the two dismounted soldiers and the two read still saddled surge their horses. Thoradin unleashed his axe and calls forth the frozen wrath of his faith. Sierka no longer a mouse leaps from the roof to startle the unmanned horses but falls to the cold stones. Boris charges Thoradin with demonic power and both fire and ice nor dance from the battle angry dwarf. Velin’s mind is clouded and the only arcane that bursts forth is the trusted missiles he has come to master. Kantalar takes residence in the shadows of the buildings and quickly circles to flank the soldiers but they are cunning.
The seconds fly no faster than the turning seasons and each blow is counted in pain and blood. The soldiers come to know the wrath of the fellows and quickly fall to death. The two mounted men ride their horsed in panic and trample Sierka. Altais forgoes healing to draw his divine justice down on the fleeing men to prevent them calling more guards.
The scene slows as the last of the combatants fall to their knees and finally to the stones of the road. The alley lay dark and gloomy what little light dares disturb the raging adventurers does so with the tint of red..

Into the Murk

13th June 2011
By Velin (Simon)

Day 17 Night continued

We stood among bodies and blood. The cold of the moonless night stinging the sweat that ran from our brow and shivering our bodies as our chests heaved and our muscles ached. For barely two minutes the battle lit up the dark and silent street. Searing holy radiance, distracting flares, demon fire, flashing missiles, primordial violence, earth shattering thunderclaps. Short, sharp, explosive. Broken and torn bodies splayed about the street. With the chaos still ringing in his ears, Boris sat himself upon the dragon’s-egg chest, looking around at his battered companions.
Silence has barely returned to the night when a nearby front door swung open with a creak that cut through the momentary reprieve. A silhouette skipped down the front steps of the house, hearts skipped a beat in terrified wonder at what manner of horror this may be. It came into the glow of the streetlamp, wild hair and a grotesquely painted visage, its arms flailing like the tentacles of an Otyugh.
“Fantasitcas! What a spectacle! Such a resounding riposte to the Shroud’s wicked thrust through the heart of freedom. At last folk with the yolk sacs to stand up to Heiranon’s brutes. I saw it all, what the craven muck-spawn did to that poor woman in the bag. At last true heroes like the stalwarts of old; bold action that spits in the face of tyranny.
“In moments this place will be crawling with more of those blonde haired vermin. They will scour this street, and wring information out every poor soul on the block. I don’t need to tell you to be scarcer than laughs at a Bayern poetry slam night.
“Oh, but how rude of me…sorry, manners deserted me in all the excitement. Before you stands Gregoire Marseille of the Riverside Dramatic Arts Society.” He bows with an amusingly extended flourish. “So enormously pleased to meet such fine young champions. And by what dashing name does your crew fly?”
We looked among ourselves in statement and wonder, we’d never been asked that before.
“Palant’s Crew” Sierka offered more as a question than an answer. Palant nodded a silent approval.
“Well then you have entertained this fanciful heart”
“Can you help us to hide?” Palant asked.
“Most certainly, I may not aspire to the bravery of heroes like yourself but I do what I can when it is asked.”
“Ok then, where do we go?” Boris asked as he gestured down the street where the thundering hooves of horses and marching armor could be heard.
“Head to XXX street in XXX district. Look for the Silk Serenade, across the street is the house of XXX, tell him I sent you and he will aid you.”
“What can he do for us” Velin queried. “Who’s he to you?”
A redness came over his face, enough that it shone through the thick gaudy makeup.
Sierka worked it out, “They’re companions”
“What” Altais was puzzled.
“They’re gay!” Velin sounded, a little too loud and a little to bold, after all he wasn’t known for his wisdom.
A flourishing bow and a pearl smile saw the colourful gentleman step back into the shadows.
“We we’d best be going” Sierka offered.

The streets were cold and dark and every corner and alley were potential danger. Our jittery crew made their way quietly. The guards would come looking for us and were unlikely to stop. We were in trouble and needed help. We entered the XXX District and found the Silk Serenade. Across the street stood a humble home, white plastered walls and chimney stack. Lace curtains lines the windows and flowers filled the pots in the window.
Palant knocked on the door but only silence followed.
“Knock again” Altais offered.
“We don’t want to wake everyone” Palant responded.
Sierka knocked, the impulsiveness and impatience of her sorcery saw to it.
Footsteps and shuffling responded, within a minute the door creaked open just a sliver.
“Who’s that?” The mumbled sleepy voice offered.
“XXX sent us, he said you could help” said Palant.
“Where is he” the door mumbled back.
“We got into a fight with the city guard and he saw it. After he came to us and offered help, he said to come here.” Palant explained.
“Either that or you’ve rung this location from his dying corpse”
“We did not” Velin impatiently responded.
“Please we really need your help,” the feminine side of Sierka appeared.
“Shut up down there,” a voice sounded into the street.

XXX tells the party of a group of abandoned houses that they could hide in
• Party hides in one
• A guard patrol comes looking “Told you he’s not here”
• Party finds entrance into sewers
• Party is attacked by Ottygus

Finding our way to New Castle

28th June 2011
By Paleant (Simon)

So after a long discussion about tactics the party decided to charge in and destroy the wererat and ratlings. Initially it looked like they were going to run but the sight and smell of Thoradin’s personal cloud drew them into battle. He was quickly surrounded and Velin brought down a pillar of fire upon some of them. The party was picking the rattish creatures apart when their boss arrived to say that “they more important things to do” and were told to escape the encounter. After they were gone we discovered the plan to ambush a theatre production. Velin made a copy of the plan. A long and protracted discussion began about going back to kill the beholder and get his loot but the wisdom of Altais prevailed. We left the room in a northerly direction. We came to a side tunnel and began to explore while Thoradin was explaining something about northerly directions but no one could understand his highly intelligent thoughts. So we explored the side tunnel and the mighty Thoradin lifted the trap door with a bolder on it. We found it came to a storeroom in the ‘Highside Tavern’. Anyway, it finally dawned the rest of the party what Thoradin was trying to explain earlier. And we proceeded through the tunnel going in a northerly direction. We eventually arrived in a cave which was outside the city of Rolo and near to ‘New Castle’.

The party walked up to the Duke’s castle and spoke to his guard seeing the Magistrate. Paleant made gatehouse guard very friendly and then the Magistrate very friendly, convinced and helpful with our evidence. Velin succeeded in giving the magistrate a drink in a goblet. We were brought immediately before the uke because of the serious nature of the charges regarding the contract to kill his sister the Lady Harle(not an ‘o’)tta. He was convinced and then in burst Warden Jaryn demanding to be part of the court as his right as part of the Shroud of Hierenon. Jaryn was trying to intimidate Duke Tarquil but Paleant succeeded in forcing him to back down. This gave Lineas (prelate of Menon) the room to suggest that Jaryn could stay as long as he is quiet. Thoradin asks about the health of the Archprelate. Altais had some questions and points about details. Jaryn did continue to try to intimidate Duke Tarquil but failed as the balance of power had shifted toward prelate Lineas. Duke Tarquil tells his guards to arrest Jaryn and instead he tryies to leave the room the way he came in. Velin casts Ice Rays to stop Jaryn from leaving. Immediately Lineas stops Velin in his tracks. Paleant steps in and bluffs Lineas into believing that Velin is an authorised user of magic as he is wearing the appropriate ring on his finger. Jaryn is arrested and Kantalar touches him swearing in his mind to catch up with sometime in the future.

Duke Tarquil arranges for the party to stay in the castle and to join him for dinner later. Paleant also asks to speak with Lineas later. The servants if we would like any refreshments and Thoradin calls for beer (and pretzels) and Altais smiles in anticipation of the revelry to come. Most the male party members enjoy using the bath (Paleant, Kantalar and Thoradin together with Altais (and much beer). Sierka goes to her room after being washed, buffed and polished by Velin’s Prestigitation hence known as being prestigitated. Paleant has suggested a safety knock for Sierka to come back into the larger bedroom when needed and along with a few others asks for his Armor and cleaned while they freshen up. Boris has set his imp to spy on the hallway with the room that is guarded to imprison poor poor Jaryn. Kantalar’s GPS is working.

Duke Tarquil comes to visit and offer his apologies for his lack of leadership qualities. Kantalar knocks on the door between rooms and Sierka comes into the room. We discuss the Tarquil’s father’s vegetative condition after being pricked by a poison dart. Enquiries are made about his sister Harle(not an ‘o’)tta and it seems she is the one with her father’s leadership qualities. (There was some other interesting points made but I cannot remember what they are). Altais the details man begins to assess the condition of the old Duke.

Prelate Lineas comes to visit us in the room and we talk about stuff…

Altais , Sierka and Paleant go off to the dinner and Elder Tremmel is coming down the hallway in a big hurry to go and see Jaryn. Sierka’s big poofffy dress blocks most of the hallway. This forces Paleant to confront Elder Tremmel after he knocks back the servants who are begging him to stop and… Meanwhile back at the room Boris misses his imp, Kantalar is concerned about his friends because you never split the party and Thoradin is drunk/relaxed… So Paleant refuses to move out of the way and is concerned about the servants well being. Elder Tremmel threatens and eventually brings our his dirty underwhelming greatsword and sticks in Paleants face who laughs it off nonchalantly. Elder Tremmel threatens to lop his head off when all of a sudden a poofffy dress starts to get in his way. Distracted by the size of the dress Elder Tremmel’s sword becomes let threatening. It is at this moment that guards start coming from all sides. Then the voice of prelate Lineas bursts forth and while he talking he gesticulates that Sierka followed by Altais and Paleant should make their way to the dining hall.

Finally, the time for dinner has arrived and Linellas informs us of the protocol for the occasion. The other guests arrive and then the Lady Harle(not an ‘o’)tta and then the Duke Tarquil so we all stand and bow before the handwringer. Elder Tremmel is late and rude. Paleant asks him about his sword. Sierka embarks on a quest to impress the Harle(not an ‘o’)tta. Paelant is very appreciative of Harle(not an ‘o’)tta’s broach representing the Correlon God of magic and other cool stuff. Paleant shares some dark stories of adventure and magic i.e. Morganna, Avendi and the Baby White Dragon.
Meanwhile… Boris, Thoradin and Kantalar are hanging around when all of a sudden an assasin, Juan Ki’reth, appears with a knife to Boris’ throat. He teleports away only for the Minute-man (swirly tattoo neck thinghy) to shift and immobilise him. “If you move he is dead”, Kantalar decides not to move and Thoradin moves and swings to pulverise the annoying man but the Minute-man quickly moves away from the attack. The Minute-man says he only wanted to talk to us. And then Kantalar moves in to attack and miss. Kantalar’s Urgrosh ends up on the balcony. The assassin reveals that he clearly superior to all of the three of these lowly adventurers combined. The assassin leaves his knife on the table and says that if one of them does not kill Harle(not an ‘o’)tta he will hunt each one of us down and kill us all. The Minute-man leaves and the Boris picks up the knife to examine it and finds that it is ordinary but poisoned. Kantalar looks at Thoradin who declares, “we cannot kill her”.
Elder Tremmel tries to talk about court business at the dinner table. 
Paleant and Sierka provoke him a little. Altais engages Renallo the old Duke’s physician in conversation along with his wife Toula and the other nobles. He gathers as many details about the old Duke’s catatonic state and enquires about the source of poison and if it could be magical. Meanwhile Sierka talks with Harle(not an ‘o’)tta about stuff and then Paleant talks about stuff and Lesken. The Lady informs us that Lesken was trying to get financial support for the Hussians not necessarily the enjoyment of his company. She knows people at the Arcanum who will help us to get into see Lesken if we can get her there. Prelate Linellas declares that the Lady Harle(not an ‘o’)tta is no longer under house arrest.

So the dinner moves into the parlour for games of chance, discussion and more revelry. Thoradin comes bursting in with news from upstairs and promptly settles into a game of chance and wins some more gold. Paelant tells the story of Velin’s family injustice. Afterwards Paelant invites Linellas to meet with the party upstairs. Sierka goes off with her new mentor the Lady Harletta to her rooms for some girl talk. She returns to the group and Kantalar confronts Linellas with some concerns that he has and everybody gets agitated. Paelant smoothes the way and eventually we come to a consensus about how to proceed next. A rider is seen leaving the castle taking some news somewhere presumably to Elder Tremmel.

The party decides to visit Lesken in the University and the Lady Harletta and Linellas agree to come along for the ride. So the next morning we ride off to see the crazy monk. On the way we spot the presence of Elder Tremmel and his righteous force of Menon. Paelant secures Linellas’ blind eye to the possible arcane power to be used in the battle against Elder Tremmel. The party decides to sneak around them. Thoradin uses his bird-calling skills to avoid detection from the guards and we slip by them unnoticed.

We make it to the Arcanum and Lady Harletta uses her influence to get us into to see Lesken. It is all very humourous as Lesken freed from the things that have bound him as his pants dance with excitement after being freed. There is the contemplation of breaking him out there and then but the look on Sierka’s face puts a stop to any such shenanigans. So eventually it seems that the decision is we must get rid of the Elder Tremmel and that will unravel the bindings on Lesken and the party.

So we get on our horses and ride hard to find that Elder Tremmel and his force are on their way to the castle rather slowly. We surprise them and crush them with Boris shredding them to pieces with his otherworldy presence. Kantalar holds of a third of the force while the others take down the rest. Velin keeps everything under control. Altais heals everybody. Paelant moves everyone into the most effective tactical positions. Thoradin defends Altais admirably. Sierka hovers approvingly. The fight is epic and we win.

There is much celebration that night at the Castle. Lesken is freed, the Assasins are paid off, Rolo is no longer oppressed, the Lady Harletta is generous and we must decide what to do next. A rider has brought news that evening about Dragons threatening Hanreth. We decide to go after the Dragons and to find Tabiel. Next morning we collect our stuff and make our way to Hanreth through almost blizzard-like conditions as there seems to be an enormous magical weather event in the area. We fight and defeat some forces of nature which attack us. Sierka seems to know something we do not.

View
Into the Forest and Settling the Villagers

Into the Forest

5 April 2011
By Velin (Simon)

Day 14

With the villagers hiding in the forest and Altais back from dying Kantalar declares we should fight the large White Dragon it may give us a chance to escape. We fought the Dragon until Altais was exhausted from healing Thoradin, he held the dragon at bay stoically. The dragon was bloodied but not near death. We retreated into the forest to find another way to take the villagers to safety. Altais and Thoridan led the villagers further into the forest. Kantalar let the horses go, hoping to distract the dragon and made his way back to the group.

Meanwhile Velin fell out of a portal onto the forest pathway as the group with Altais and Thoradin leading walked along the newly discovered path. After a bit of conversation Velin joined with the group and made camp. A falcon appears and drops a message. It is from Tabiel and it her falcon companion Tully. Kantalar returned to find the camp.

Rested, the group moves on and notices there is this little shadowed creature with lots of sharp teeth following them. The little shadow creature pops up trying to tell us something then disappears again. We keep moving down the path and discover a fork and a tree is on the side of the path with a messaged carved in elven. We decided to go down the path toward what is described on the message on the tree. We make our way into a beautiful forest enclave. The flowers described in the message are before us then a female humanoid creature (dryad) begins talking with Kantalar and invites 5 of us to enter their garden sanctuary. We negotiate some terms of understanding regarding the villagers and speak to the men of Fernwell about the situation. We enter the sanctuary and the lady requires us to disarm and take off our footwear. Reluctant to disarm the party moves forward and Velin crosses the stream in the middle of the garden. Immediately 6 more of the creatures appear out of the trees and Velin is dominated into crossing the stream and striking at Thoradin (of course he missed haha). The party backs off and the situation calms down. We respect the Dyrads wishes. Kantalar jumps into the pond into the middle. He is immediately refreshed. Thoradin does the same. The dryads offer us some fruit which we share with the villagers later. The dryads request that we bring back one of the Shadowfell creatures , like the one we have seen before, back to them so they can question why they are present in the forest. We agree to do this quest as long as they help us find a way to to bring the villagers to safety. We explain the situation to the men of Fernwell.

So off we go to capture the Shadowfell creature. We enter into combat and immediately Kantalar goes down after two crossbow bolts hit him and then he critically hit by a shadowfell creatues shroud. Altais bring him back quickly and Kantalar uses his second wind. The encounters is challenging and Adaris runs away. Kantalar strikes down the flanking creatures. Meanwhile, Altais and Thordin go down. Velin conjures a pillar of lightning. He is doing his best but then he goes down. Kantalar attracts the attention of the remaining opposition and then uses first aid to bring Altais back to consciousness. Altais then brings the rest of the party back to life and we overwhelm the rest of shadowfell creatures easily. As we return to the dryads we find Adaris’ stuff scattered on the ground, he is missing and so is Anarus’ tome.

We return to the Dyads and hand over the shadowfell creature. The dryads explain that they have way for us to escape through the Feywild plane if we travel along the leyline to another marker stone where we will open a portal into a place that is near Hanreth. We take this to the villagers with Altais and Velin convincing them that this is the way out. Kantalar backs them up. Thoradin is growling under his breath about his need for beer. We try to rest but then it becomes chilly and a voice (A BIGGER DRAGON) above the forest threatens destruction. At this point in time the dryads open a portal to the Feywild and the party and villagers make our way through into another dangerous place with no rest.

After going through the portal we find ourselves in a cave. Out of the cave we come to beach surrounded by cliffs. There is no simple way up the cliffs. Kantalar climbs up the cliff and sets up a piton pulley system with Thoradin to haul everyone up the cliff. We get Altais and the men from the village to run a two piton pulley systems and after about 5 hours everyone is up and we make our way in to the Feywild. Kantalar scouts ahead and sees an ambush up ahead. He brings the party forward and Velin stays with the group. A magic-using type guy talks to us demanding with give something to him on behalf some other guy who wants it. We have no idea what they are talking about and so the encounter begins and then it ends with all the Skellies wiped out and the two main guys dead.

We continue on our way. Kantalar sees a bridge and campfire across from the bridge he calls the party over and noticing that there a gap in the bridge. Velin tries to negotiate with the large Eladrin creature but obviously is not going to help us unless we may him the richest humanoid in the Feywild at 500gp per person to cross the bridge. Kantalar scouts to the north and discovers another group of Shadowfell idiots. He returns and reports. Velin and Thoradin have been thinking of another way to cross the river. Several times Thoradin tries to speak to the Large Eladrin creatures in Dwarvish with no success. Kantalar quips, “Nobody understand Dwelvish in the Feywild”. Kantalar scouts to the south of the river and finds that it leads to a very large waterfall. The view across the river is very picturesque. Velin insists on his plan to chop down some trees to cross the river while Altais tries to explain all the problems involved with his not well thought out plan. Thoradin is thinking about his little axe trying to cut down trees. Kantalar returns and sees the good in Velin’s plan. He and Thoradin go down river and Kantalar gives him his big Axe (Urgrosh) to fell a tree across the river. Thoradin only just succeeds. Kantalar returns while Thoradin makes some nice steps on the tree and clears the branches. Altais is surprised by the success of Velin’s plan. They gather up the villagers and then the group moves on to finding the maker stone back to Kestria. We arrive and speaks the words to answer a riddle, ‘marked boy’. The portal opens and we find ourselves near Hanreth.

Settling the Villagers

5 April 2011
By ? (?)

Day 15
By Velin (Simon)

The trek had been long and hard and when the hillside horizon finally gave way to the roof tops and flags of Hanneth a collective sigh of relief and exhaustion sounded out among the villagers. We approached the town but were met by military men with stern faces.
“You cannot enter Hanneth, the city is closed.”
“But we have sick and weary villagers needing rest.”
We recounted our tale, villagers in the path of rising waters, leading them to safety just to be chased by a dragon.
“Dragon, hahaha there aint no such thing as a Dragon.”
We were surprised as our wounds both of the flesh and the mind told otherwise.
“You can only go to the refugee camp where General Caleth will deal with you. Those are my orders.”
For what we had been through, the miles of travel, the cliff pulley, the Feywild and dragons, these last few hundred feet seemed like miles but at last we had a place to rest and food to eat.

Lieutenant Ephrim with his scowl of annoyance and eyes that peered down from his up turned nose filed us into the refugee camp like cattle led to slaughter. It appeared that they thought us a threat or perhaps to be spies as was the hushed conversations between soldiers behind tents. After a patronizing wait we were graced with an audience with General Caleth, an equally mistrustful and arrogant rank. The initial talks went badly as we told of our exploits, omitting the existence of dragons.

The general at first was unimpressed at our selfless aim to help those in need and ordered us prisoner, with a view to execution but a few lucky words caught his attention.
“I see you are possibly of use to me. If you are who you say you are then you will attend to my men and your usefulness will come to light. A strange illness strickens them, go to the infirmary and uncover the truth before the Archprelate of Menon (religion) arrives. It can only do you well if you solve this problem, if you fail you will prove to be nothing and you will be dealt with."

With a glimmer of hope we set about solving the mystery that may solve our dilemma. Altais and Velin strode to the infirmary to examine the ill, Thoradin to the camp’s gathering place to speak to the soldiers. Kantalar sneaks of to check out the whole campsite.

Altais was quick to find no natural sickness nor disease and Velin eliminated an Arcane source. The illness would send soldiers to the infirmary in the mornings and appeared to effect only the low level military men. We spoke to Erasmuth, a healer that cared for the men and he described their shaking and cold fever symptoms.

Meanwhile Thoradin sourced information from the camp. They spoke to soldiers and captains and all the while the one twig filled eyebrow of Thoradin rose with suspicion.
“It’s in the beer”
Thoradin stated as if it were as clear as words in the sky.
“Soldiers come in sick in the morn, their beer is poisoned.”

While Altais remained in the infirmary doing what he could, Velin headed to Thoradin to share his information. We agreed that Thoradin may be right and we head out with our hypothesis in hand. We questioned and talked and quickly learned that traders from Hanreth would bring liquor for the men each night and they would drink heartily. We set about, a plan to question the ale bearers as they arrived.

In their quest for information the group made new acquaintances of Boris ans Sierka, two warlocks, a male and female counterpart.
“Why are you doing this anyway” Sierka asked
“We have a moral obligation to these people.” Velin offered
“We can help.” Boris offered.
Thoradin grunted, universal Dwarven for Welcome to the party.

Proudly Velin shared an idea, a wizardly experiment to test their theory. He would take saliva and blood from the victims and feed it to some small animals. If the animals become sick it would point toward poison. He left Thoradin and Kantalar to set about his plan. With the aid of soldiers and the healer he acquired rats and pitched his tent from his grand scheme.

The other companions located the sight of the nightly beer consumption. Thoradin trod the earth and his beer attuned senses found wagon tracks and the likely spot for the swill. Kantalar headed back into the camp to uncover whispered words and shadowed actions via his own stealth. Altais sent word that several soldiers had died yet others had recovered completely.

“Surely we have to tell the soldiers that their ale is poisoned” Sierka quizzed.
“If we’re wrong the beer men would be in great danger.” Velin offered.
“And we’d be undermining the General’s authority." Kantalar replied.
“Anyway it could always be food poisoning instead,” Boris offered.
The situation grew more complicated with every passing moment. More and more possibilities arose.
“Without evidence it’s all pointless anyway.” Velin stated just as he darted off again to check on his rat volunteers.
“But, the soldiers?” Sierka’s concern was sincere but little could be done.

The night came quickly and the liquor had arrived. A strong gray draft horse pulled a wagon loaded with barrels and peeked with a cooked pig. Velin had returned with news that his tested rats had fallen ill with the same sickness. As the merriment got underway Thoradin and Kantalar made themselves known socially to the ale servants. Prinath Redman, a large burly man, carved the pig while Prole Teslin, a short joyful fellow, attended to the liquor. Thoradin drew the first mug of liquor and with courage drank it in.
With a spat he bellowed, “There aint nothing to this, you got something stronger?”
“Hahaha” Prole replied, “You’re a comedian.”
“I aint laughin’, you gots better?”
“Ah my friend, this is made from distilled turnip, mixed with the distilled juice of the cashew apple, it’s an age old secret passed to me by my grandpapa.”
Kantalar’s keen eye noted a quiver in the man’s voice and a poker tell that gave him away.
“Tells ya what, tomorrow night I’ll bring somefin’ even you’ll appreciate master dwarf.”
Velin returned with another scheme.
“Can you get me some liquor and meat from the pig?” he whispered to Thoradin. “I’ll test them on the rats,” and with his samples in hand he scurried wizardly back to his canvas lab.
Kantalar had taken up residence by the barrels and settled himself into a shadow. He watched as Prole served two mugs from common barrels but strategically served the third swig from a single barrel.
“Bitter this one,” Thoradin mumbled as he drank back the clear liquor acquired from the specified barrel.

Throughout the night Velin traveled back and forth from his tent to the bonfire where the soldiers drank ale. On one trip to the fire he was startled by the appearance of a shadowfell creature, the same kind that had appeared to them on the road through the Ashengrove Vale.
“Neffrin sniblin,” it bellowed. Having no patience for it’s trickery and deceit Velin attempted to grab it, the creature deftly avoided his less than martial advance and surprisingly jumped back and produced a note. “Sniblin neffrin trittii,” the creature cackled once more. Reluctantly the wizard took the note and the creature stepped back into the shadow of a tent and was gone.

The night wore on and it became clear that Prole, the server of liquor, only provided the bitter samples at his leisure.
Kantalar and Thoradin spoke.
“Vat three’s got the poison in it,” The dwarf tapped on the bitter barrel.
“We’ve got em then,” said Kantalar.
And then in a scene not unlike the ones from comedy theaters of Rolo, Thoardin hoisted the bitter barrel upon his Dwarven shoulders and ran. Needless to say the camp was surprised but the servers were quick to chase him. Prinath was fast on his heals daggers in hand and with a flick two thin blades spun through the air to sheath themselves deep in to Thoradin’s back. Like a jack rabbit Boris was as equally quick off the mark and a seething line of frost shot from his hand. The area exploded in arctic crystals and Prinath writhed in pain. Kantalar was next to Prole who had drawn a small crossbow. Sierka slapped the draft horse and the wagon was off, barrels rolled everywhere and tables crashed. The area was awash with drunkards and combatants. Thoradin did his best to escape with the poisoned liquor. Kantalar did his best to defend him. Boris and Sierka spouted arcane rumblings as magic flew. Finally the stewing soldiers in their drunken state stumbled, ran and stammered after the bolting wagon.

Prinath and Prole came to realize that their plan was up and they fled, Prinath headed south-east out of the camp and Prole scampered into the carousing pen and disappeared between the enclosed horses.
“What is going on,” a soldier demanded in his authoritative voice. He had stepped from his tent into the chaotic mess.
Sierka gave a quick reply sending him to the chase. The scene slowed, Thoradin stood paused at the corner of a tent not sure which way to run, Kantalar did his best to run down Prinath but his vision was marred by the poison daggers.

General Caleth, flanked by several officers, strolled into the camp. “Explain,” and with a word the scene halted. Between panting breaths Kantalar addressed the General. “Alright, you lot to my tent, you clean up this mess,” the General spat.

With heart rates returning to normal the now six adventurers gathered before the general.
“Who are these two? I thought there was only four of you!” General Caleth bellowed.
“They were helping the others,” Lieutenant Ephrim replied.
“The liquor is tainted!” growled Thoradin.
“Sir the spirits brought in from Hanreth was poisoned” Kantalar offered.
“What?”
“Ah that makes sense. It would seem Lexin got you again.” Kadaris offered with a sly smile.
“What proof do you have.”
Velin hurled the sack of dead rats onto the general’s desk.
“Get that off my desk.”
Velin eyeballed the general but did not move. Sierka with a wiser mind reluctantly lifted the rats from the table.
“I tested saliva and blood from the soldiers in the infirmary. The rat subjects became ill.”
“Liquor, poisoned.” Thoradin offered.
“Well it seems you have solved the problem, and just in time. You six are free to come and go, my clerk will draw up travel papers.”
“So we can assume that the villagers we came with will be treated kindly and justly?” Velin asked.
“The people will be cared for.”

At long last we came to rest out long traveled legs on tavern benches and wash away the dust from the road with trusted ale.
“Ah, it aint Dwarven but it’s some fine ale,” Thoradin reluctantly agreed.
“So now what?” Sierka asked.
“To the Split Oak to fight us some hell hounds,” Thoradin barked.
Velin produced the note and read it aloud, “You possess arcana that belongs not to you. You will rendezvous with me to return the item by the first night of the waxing of the eye of Zehir. Manifest your presence in the shadow of the split oak to your north under the high gaze of Zehir. Without compliance, Vecna’s hounds will run you down, steal your souls and deliver them to the Votaries to become experiments on undeath. Signed Redgraw.”
“Vecna’s hounds sounds like fun,” Thoradin offered as the adventure drew to a close with the six discussing their plans.
“It’s the moon I tell you, waxing of the moon!” Sierka offered, annoyed that no one else got it.

Kantalar explains about the Note from Redgraw who is a part of this Druidic Cult that is the Votaries. Traevis and his brother Willem were caught up in that group. Traevus (Half-Elf useless dead necromancer) was trying to save his brother by getting the evil book from Anarus (ghost because Traevus, his student, killed him). Anarus is defeated and Traevus is dead. The Druids probably have the book from Adaris the previous Wizard. Now they probably want the glowing blue rock.

Kantalar explains that he has no interest in doing anything the note says. Why play along with someone else’s plan when you can simply ignore them. This is not the first time they tried to get the whatever it was they wanted from our group. When we were in the Feywild they send some guys and group of skeletons to fight us and they did not survive.

Kantalar says, “If this Redgraw guy cannot be clear in communicating what he wants then we are not obligated to pay any attention to his petty little demands, let him play his game solo. Besides I do not think that Velin is going to give up that Blue Rock now he has possession of it and all its power” :)

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The Rest Day, The Defeat of Anarus and the Evacuation of Fernwell

The Rest Day

21 December 2010
by GM (Louis)

Day 11 – Midday

The party decided to clear out the rest of the tower, and so continued up to the third floor. Kantalar scouted ahead, spying the goblin boss and the remainder of his posse, before retreating to discuss a plan of attack. A fierce battle ensued, and for a moment it looked as if the party had overextended themselves when Erik the Paladin went down in the face of some coordinated melee.

With Erik bleeding out on the floor, it was a race to the death. Kantalar was caught outflanked, and nearly went down before beating a hasty retreat to the stairs. Things looked grim, but Adaris combined with Tabiel to take down the softened-up enemy.

Alas it was too late for Erik, however. The Paladin had lost too much blood, and passed into the beyond to join the holy host of Kord. The party paid their respects to their fallen comrade before looting his body and burying him outside the tower with his shield for a headstone. Then they rested.

Day 11 – Evening

After recuperating, the party opened up the trapdoor on the first floor that they had found earlier, revealing a narrow stone staircase spiraling down into pitch blackness. Adaris used his magic to provide light, and the remainder of the party ventured into the musty dungeon. It was soon evident that this dungeon was more of a crypt, however, when zombies attacked from the dark.

The zombies had their arses handed back to them on a plate. From there, the party continued exploring the other rooms of the crypt, taking on skeletons, rats, stone warriors, a shadow bat, and a couple of pony sized spiders. Kantalar disarmed a potentially deadly trap, Adaris discovered the secret of the misty barrier, and the party recovered three of its keys. Oh, and two adventurers, Thoradin and (insert name of cleric) that had been secretly following party since Hanreth caught up with them, lending a hand in some tight spots.

Finally, confronted with the puzzle of the four oddly-named monster statuettes on a pedestal, the party decided to solve it by having Thoradin hit one of them with his hammer. Unfortunately something went wrong between the time he lined up the swing, and when he delivered the blow, and the hammer came down on all four statuettes, which promptly disappeared. The creatures they depicted manifested within the room, setting the scene for a dangerous battle to follow.

The Defeat of Anarus

27 February 2011
by GM (Louis)

Day 12 – Morning

Upon defeating the odd assortment of nasties in the room with the statue, the last part of the key was revealed. Ready to take on Anarus in the final room, the party decided instead to investigate the dark hole in the lair of the Deathjump Spiders. They positioned a table over the hole and tied a rope around it that they used to lower themselves into the cavern below the hole. A single naturally formed tunnel led away from the cavern, and the party made their way into the pitch-blackness.

The main tunnel forked, and there were other smaller tunnels leading away to no one knows where. The party came upon a small shrine to Torog propped up against one wall of the main tunnel, which they promptly destroyed. A subsequent investigation into one of the small side-tunnels (involving throwing fireballs down it to ignite the spider-webbing within) provoked an attack by a large and nasty spider with blades for legs. They defeated the spider, but were quickly routed by a dual-blade wielding dark elf who appeared from the cloak of shadow during the fight.

After obtaining the party’s surrender, the dark elf seemed more interested in the amusement of the encounter, than the killing of anyone, and chose to instead take one of their magic items and send them back to the surface with their tails between their legs.

Could this have been one of the many entrances to the legendary and terrible Underdark?

Day 12 – Afternoon

Back in the crypts of Anarus, they found Traevus waiting for them at the top of the hole, Kantalar noticing the telling smirk on his face. They confronted Traveus and, using much duress, extracted the truth of his treachery. It was him who had killed Anarus, poisoning him in his sleep with some nightshade from Kalton Manor’s own gardens. He also revealed the rest of Anarus’ story of necromancy, and the attempt to raise an undead army (perhaps the dark fantasies of a crazy man?).

They tied up Traevus, and while licking their wounds and resting, the party formulated their plan to take on Anarus. Through the swirling purple glow of the magic gate they went, finally entering Anarus’ inner sanctum. It was clear that Anarus (or at least his headless ghost) only wanted them to hand Traevus over and leave, but there was more incentive to defeat Anarus himself. The battle that ensued was hard fought, but karma seemed to have returned to haunt Anarus (rather ironically), and luck was heavily against him. The party was victorious, but Traveus was killed, having taken heavy damage from Anarus’ allies, and a final force orb from Adaris.

Oh, and at some point during the battle Morgana made her final appearance, but also tasted the kiss of death. That was not before making her delivery of Anarus’ head.

Evacuation of Fernwell

28 February 2011
by GM (Louis)

Day 12 – Night

Another rest, and it was time to leave the crypt. The party had gotten what they came for (kicking Morgana’s ass), as well as the recovery of her strange magical glowing blue rock, and Anarus’ dark book of necromancy.

About to make their way out, the situation changed abruptly. A great thud from somewhere above rocked the entire crypt, and the walls and ceiling became unstable. Was it an earthquake? Immediately the party ran for their lives before the whole crypt collapsed. Strangely chilled air filled the air, and the shrill shriek of some great and terrible creature sounded. Back in the tower, the building lurched, rocked by something on top of it, or hitting it. Stone blocks fell from the ceiling, and the party managed to dodge every one as they evacuated. Looking into the sky, they saw the horrific sight of a huge draconian creature flying away.

The rain was teeming, and icy cold, and the Lottie was a raging torrent. The party started making their way back to Fernwell. On the way there they came across a tense meeting between the draconic creature they had just encountered, and the three Avendi Striders that had been demolishing villages from Hanreth to So’ren. Kantalar snuck closer to listen in and gleaned that the dragon and Avendi had an alliance. The Avendi were looking for a marked boy in the surrounding villages, and had negotiated for the dragon to perform a ritual that was precipitating the escalating bad weather. But of most urgent concern was that Fernwell was next on the Avendi’s must-visit list.

The party ran to Fernwell to warn them. When they arrived, the villagers were gathered in the inn to discuss their response to the impending flooding of the Lottie. Eager to interrupt the debate, Adaris used a cantrip to get their attention, but the already spooked villagers panicked and mayhem ensued. They ran from the inn to barricade themselves in their houses. The party managed to calm down the innkeeper and get across to him their dire message. A plan was then formulated to evacuate Fernwell before the Avendi arrived. Adaris went to the northern-most farmhouse belonging to Jornis to watch out for the Avendi, while Thoradin went to the meeting spot next to Belin’s grain fields to light the way for the evacuees. Kantalar, Altais, Callum and his family ran from door to door convincing the villagers to abandon their houses, and join the evacuation.

The final villagers were gathered at the meeting spot as the Avendi were striding into town. Adaris spied their entrance and fled to Thoradin’s light, and the procession left before they could be spotted. The flight to the safe cave to the west was a nervous time as the villagers (men, women, children, the elderly, pregnant girls on horses) struggled to keep up their pace. But they reached the cave, only to find it being used as a lair by a pack of grey wolves, and their werewolf leader. The party fought the pack in the mud, and killed them all, finally dropping the werewolf off the cliff to his death on the rocks below.

Day 13 – Morning

Unfortunately, Thoradin had been bitten by the Lycanthrope, and contracted a fever. It was a harrowing time for all, waiting until day broke, and few got any sleep, least of all Thoradin, who fought the fever with the aid of Altais’ healing hand. By mid morning, thing were looking up again. The Avendi had not yet discovered their hideout, and Thoradin’s fever had broken. The rain had all but stopped. It was clear, however, that they had to move on. They were backed into a corner if the Avendi should discover them, so they gathered the villagers once again and struck out south, heading for Hugor’s Highway, and eventually Hanreth, trying to stick close to edge of the woods of Ashgrove Vale.

Day 13 – Lunch

Not long into the journey, terror struck in the form of a large gleaming white dragon, scouting the surrounds for something. At first the villagers hadn’t noticed, and the dragon was a mere passing shadow, but the dragon decided to double back, and at that point Adaris raised the alarm quite dramatically, and sent the villagers into another panic. Most broke and ran for the woods, still half a mile away across an open grassy plain. Some ran the other way in their blind panic, just as the dragon spotted the fleeing people. It broke into a fast swoop as some made an attempt to redirect those running away from the woods.

But the dragon was upon them before they made it to safety, and it swooped on two males from the village, trapping them under its great claws and tearing off their heads. Like a giant cat, it then pounced upon Altais, using claws and teeth and burning icy breath to quickly deliver him to death’s door. Rising into the sky, the dragon bellowed out a call across the hills, and then swooped down again as Kantalar and Thoradin attempted to rescue the unconscious Altais. The stalwart dwarf hauled the lifeless body onto his shoulder as Kantalar gave first aid to bring him back from the brink of death, and they dived back into the thicket of trees at the edge of the wood even as the dragon was tearing chunks out of Thoradin’s back.

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The Next Week and a Half

The Next Week and a Half

November 19 2010
by GM (Louis)

Day 1 – The First Evening

In the attempt to apprehend the assassin the party was instead arrested under suspicion of murdering the Duke’s son by the Duke’s personal guard and imprisoned within holding cells beneath House So’ren. It was within those cells that the party met Trax, a rogue and scoundrel with aspirations of leading the local thieves guild (the Clinkers).

The irate Duke was ready to have them drawn and quartered, but his personal wizard, Uriel, convinced him of the unlikelihood of the party’s guilt.

Day 2 – The First Morning

The Duke gave the party a test of character, sending them into a tunnel at the end of the cell block without telling them what they were looking for. The party passed the test (after a couple of scuffles), by returning a locket of apparent significance to the Duke.

Coming along for the ride was a big boozing brawler named Vaughn, who thereon threw his fortunes in with the party.

On the way back to their cell the party spied an odd sight: an adjacent cell containing a small boy with an unusual birthmark.

Day 3

The duke’s problem’s were compounded when the King’s bulldog, Caleth, turned up with a platoon each of Pharanathian and Jodanian soldiers. Caleth was sent to enforce the King’s order for Duke Lexin So’ren to return to Bloodrose Court, the King’s summer residence.

The duke hatched a plan that would fool the King into thinking he was complying, while actually staying in So’ren. He had his wizard use his magic to disguise the party as members of the Duke’s family, and have them make the journey in the Duke’s stead. He gave the party a sealed letter to deliver to his spy at Bloodrose Court and sent them on their way with the blessings of Melor.

The party departed on the Duke’s personal river boat, encountering Caleth on the way, who was most pleased to see the Duke so compliant.

Day 4

A peaceful day sailing downriver was interrupted by the odd sight of a woman in flames hurtling down the riverbank and plunging into the water. The attempt to rescue her was stillborn, but a plume of smoke was seen rising above the trees lining the river, seemingly from a fire some way into the woods.

Investigation of the fire revealed a village that had been burned to the ground. The charred remains of children were lined up in the main street side by side as if part of some mass execution. The investigation was cut short when Orcs were spotted exploring the outskirts of the village

Day 5 – Evening

The boat docked in Hanreth on the evening of the 5th day. The party made their way to an upper-class inn: The Broken Tiller. During dinner one of the serving wenches and her three brothers confronted Dayreth (disguised as the Duke remaining son) with the in-utero product of their previous dalliances.

The party delicately defused the situation by promising compensation (that would obviously not be forthcoming).

Day 6

On leaving the inn the party was intercepted by a Halfling named Jangi who had seen through their illusionary disguise. Jangi implored the party to help him find his cousins, whom he believed were kidnapped by Morgana, a mad Halfling from his village.

Of course, the party had something a little more important to attend to. They had to be seen leaving Hanreth in the direction of Bloodrose Court while still disguised as the Duke of So’ren’s family. They wandered down to the docks to commission a boat, and something went wrong. A fight started. The fight turned into a massacre of the local constabulary, during which the Duke’s daughter was seen running across the battlefield in a way no upper class dainty would be seen on the move. The spell was broken, and Rauko was revealed before many witnesses, a fact that would later come back to haunt him.

The party fled Hanreth, making their way north of the town where they soon met up with Jangi. Jangi led the party to where his cousins were abducted, on a track leading down into a large bowl shaped depression in the terrain. At the bottom was a cave, and at the back of that was a dungeon, where the party took on some strange, glowing blue, animated stone carvings, followed by some crazy cultists, apparently part of some sect of Torog that Morgana had started.

They eventually located Morgana (who seemed to be rather covetously cradling some mysterious blue rock) and defeated her posse, but Morgana herself got away, escaping through a Halfling-sized tunnel at the end of her pre-planned escape route. The cousins were rescued, but Paleant was not satisfied, vowing to track the crazy Halfling down.

The party returned to where they left Jangi, and reunion with his cousins was a joyous one. The joy was short-lived, however, when upon returning to Jangi’s village, Summerbee, they discovered that it was on fire. Odd figures were seen moving about in the fire, arranging small people in a line and executing them one by one. The party tried to take on the strangers, but they raised a pack of undead and shrugged off any attempts to attack them as they strode away from the scene.

A distraught Jangi asked the party to track down Tabiel, Summerbee’s protector, who had not been seen in a couple of weeks since leaving to investigate the comings and goings of a group of Dwarves to the northwest.

Day 7

The party set off to track down Tabiel and the Dwarves. The endless hills to the northwest were at first confounding, but they bumped into a rather craven Kobold named Exylothixyl, who kept raving on about a white queen. The white queen turned out to be a white dragon wyrmling named Initraxis, who, along with her Kobold worshipers, had taken over Coppernight Hold, a new mine bring constructed by the aforementioned Dwarves. The party defeated Initraxis and her posse, recapturing Coppernight Hold and freeing the Dwarves and Tabiel.

In thanks for rescuing them, the Dwarves promised to create a magic weapon for Rauko, and the party left with Tabiel, who was soon reunited with her animal companion, a falcon named Tully.

Tabiel came with the party back to Summerbee where in camp she told them about someone who may be able to help them figure out what to do next. His name was Leskan, a monk who was also the Provost of the Hanreth chapter of a group known as the Hussians.

Day 8

Half the party set off with Tabiel to locate Leskan. Dayreth had an attack of the guilts after suggesting Jangi should eat concrete and toughen up rather than fret over his lost village, and decided to stay behind and help rebuild the village. He held back Vaughn to help out as well.

On the way back to Hanreth, the remaining party members hooked up with a pair of wanderers, a paladin of Kord, Erik, and a wizard named Adaris. After a quick scuffle with a few Kobolds and their pet Spitting Drake, they arrived at Hanreth only to find it in lock-down, with a large force of soldiers camped out on the western outskirts of the town.

A checkpoint along the road into Hanreth was looking for someone and it seemed logical that that someone was Rauko given the party’s previous adventures in the town. Rauko decided to find another more surreptitious way in, while the rest of the party proceeded through the checkpoint. As it turned out, the soldiers were carrying a rude portrait of Rauko, confirming the party’s suspicions.

Once within the town the party wasted no time in locating the tavern known as Pug’s Mug (as per Tabiel’s advice). The barkeep informed the party that a man fitting Leskan’s description did indeed occasionally rent out the backroom of the tavern, although he had been away for a while. He had returned, and if they wanted to find him, it was worth checking the whorehouses near the docks, particularly a fine little establishment called Polenna’s Pearl.

After some delicate negotiations with the madam (Polenna herself), the party managed to flush Leskan from his room (and just in time too from the sounds of distress coming from the girl he was with). After a jump from the top story window in an attempt to avoid some out of town soldiers downstairs (who earlier revealed that the army camped outside of town was on its way to So’ren, and not for a casual visit), Leskan took the party back to his rather spartan home where he told them the story of the Hussians.

In the meantime Rauko made his way down to the river to work out how to sneak into town that way. From that vantage point he spied the unusual sight of three large barges moored at the Hanreth docks. It was something that more than warranted investigation (and we are talking about Rauko the instigator here). He kept to the shadows as he followed the bank of the river, passing some warehouses before skipping onto the nearest barge without alerting the guards.

A bit of snooping around under some large canvases on the deck revealed crates of weapons, armor, and rations, and barrels of water, and some sort of incendiary substance. Evidence of an imminent invasion of So’ren was mounting. Rauko then snuck over to the lighted cabin of the next barge and witnessed a discussion of politics between some Aracana Empiricum mages who had been hired as mercenaries.

Back at Leskan’s house the party had revealed to Leskan the distressing news the dragons were back in Pharanathia (or at the very least one had been briefly present but was no longer). In any case, Leskan was not about to take chances, given that the Hussians had, as per their self-imposed prime directive, at one time eradicated the entire draconian race from the continent. He would set off immediately to inform the head of the Hussians and seek his advice. Plans were made to meet up with Leskan again in Rolo in two weeks.

Parting ways with Leskan, the party made their way back to Pug’s Mug for a good night’s rest, but were intercepted by Trax hiding in an alley near the tavern. The ever-enterprising young Clinkers aspirant negotiated a price for some interesting information, that being the news that the Duke of So’ren has hired an assassin to hunt down the party. But not just any assassin; the very same Minute Man (an Eladrin named Juan Ki’reth) that murdered the Duke’s son just over a week before. Additionally, Trax revealed that Juan had assigned the job to his apprentice, a rather nasty elf named Krist Fenwright.

Back on the docks, Rauko made his way off the barges, but not without screwing up enough to attract the attention of the guards. He escaped them, but on his way to Pug’s Mug he ran into a mysterious hooded assassin. His fast reactions quickly got him the upper hand in the fight, and the assassin fled after sustaining a critical wound, only managing to escape with the aid of a healing potion.

Rauko continued onto Pug’s Mug where he explained everything to the others.

Day 9 – Morning

The soldiers, part of a force led by General Caleth, were starting to throw their weight around in town. In between visits to various retail outlets the party came upon a fruit seller beset by soldiers attempting to requisition her produce. Paleant stepped in and resolved the situation diplomatically, convincing the soldiers to take their ill intentions elsewhere.

Shortly after, the party spotted more soldiers leading bound and bagged prisoners through the streets. Tagging along, they soon realized the prisoners (an unfamiliar man, plus, coincidentally or not, the courtesan from Polenna’s Pearl who was fawning over the soldier patrons) were to be publicly executed on the change of spying. The male accused made a break for it, but was cut down in cold blood, the words “my liege” on his dying lips. The party scrambled for a way of interrupting the proceedings without putting themselves at too much risk. They started up a chant within the crowd, somehow finding the perfect raw nerve to strike, stirring them to anger and sparking a full scale riot. The crowd bashed several soldiers to death, and the fight spilled over into the surrounding streets. Unfortunately the courtesan was still killed, but the seeds of discontent had been sewn.

It took a couple of hours for the soldiers’ reinforcements to quell the uprising. Later, the party’s lunch was interrupted by a crier announcing the imposition of a curfew, making it clear how high the stakes were.

Day 9 – Evening

Early in the evening, Kantalar, a boyhood friend of Paleant’s located them at the tavern, having been tailing the soldiers in the hope of obtaining work with them. The party then hit upon a plan to blow up the barges, thus slowing down the advance of the invading troops. Later that night they left Pug’s Mug on possibly the most the most daring mission of their lives. Rauko stayed behind, however, vowing to hunt down his would-be killer.

The party flitted from alleyway to alleyway, making their way past the curfew patrols down to the docks. Except, that is, for Erik, who was spotted and had to fast-talk his way out of an execution (and even managed to get an escort down to the docks, albeit minus his weapon).

Down on the docks the plan soon went awry, and an epic battle ensued. The barges were now heavily guarded by both regular infantry, as well as artillery wizards, and party members were dropping like flies towards the end. The skirmish was resolved when Adaris finally managed to set the incendiary barrels on fire. The resulting explosion killed several guards, blew a giant hole in the bottom of the barge, blasted Kantalar to death’s door, and woke up half of Hanreth.

Subsequent explosions on the other barges ended the combat, and none too soon as reinforcements were just arriving (although the first group had already been sent packing by an Adaris Force Orb special). Having created such a ruckus, the party thought it prudent to make themselves scarce, and hurried along the bank of the river until they were far beyond the outskirts.

There they met up with Tabiel, who greeted them with the words, “What the hell did you guys do?!!”

Day 10

The party decided to resume the hunt for Morgana. They led Tabiel to the place they last saw her and Tabiel spent some time picking up the witch’s trail. Soon they were headed east through rough scraggy hills, following a path that barely deserved the name. To complicate matters a shocking storm was blowing in, carrying with it heavy rain that seemed almost unnatural in its intensity, drenching all to the bone and threatening to obliterate any tracks Tabiel might have been following.

As chance would have it, the crest of the next hill revealed the welcome sight of a village huddled in a valley below. Proceeding to the village’s only inn, the party was quickly welcomed in by the innkeeper and his wife, who whisked them into their rooms and fetched them dry clothes.

Coming back down to a hot meal, the palpable nervousness about the inclement weather among the other patrons quickly became apparent. Apparently no one had seen weather this bad since the third cataclysm, although it was likely this was a grand exaggeration. The innkeeper, a big bloke named Callum with a thick accent, was queried about the whereabouts of Morgana. Kantalar spied a half-elf sitting nearby who sat up and took keen notice of this conversation.

After some shenanigans trying to get the half-elf to reveal himself, the party settled down for a well-earned rest.

Day 11 – Morning

Working from a tip off from Callum, Adaris and Erik left the next morning to find an old farmer named Jornis, to question him about his sighting of Morgana. He informed them that he had indeed caught Morgana digging around the graves in the village cemetery, and that after he chased her off she fled north.

An investigation of the grave site revealed that indeed one particular grave had been dug up, and an amazing amount of earth had been removed from the plot. Unfortunately it was filled with water, and some tentative investigation revealed not much, except for a curious engraving on the headstone.

Meanwhile Kantalar set in motion a plan to flush out the curious half-elf, passing letters to both the innkeeper, and the half-elf himself (slipping it under the door of his room). The cleverly crafted contents of the letter sent the half-elf into a panic, who subsequently tried to make his escape by throwing a chair through his top-floor room’s window and jumping out. The innkeeper, alerted to the possibility of the half-elf’s nefariousness, quickly joined Kantalar in the pursuit, which was over almost before it started. Callum manhandled the half-elf back into the inn.

The subsequent interrogation revealed that the half-elf, going by the name of Traevus, was on a mission to find a means of rescuing his brother from imprisonment imposed by a cult of dark druids. This unnamed cult was apparently many days travel from this village of Fernwell, but Traevus was here because he had read rumors that a wealthy family, the Kaltons, that once lived in the area, were “great scholars, and kept many rare and significant books, particularly those dealing with shadow rituals”.

So the party then set out with Traevus to find the former abode of the Kaltons (having rejected Erik’s plan to bail out the water-filled grave with a bucket). Callum gave them an additional task, promising a reward if they helped remove the threat posed by a bunch of goblin bandits that had been spotted in the area of the old Kalton residence to the north.

As it turned out, the goblin bandits had taken up residence in what was left of Kalton Manor, occupying a tower that once formed the corner of the mansion. The party cleared the first floor with relative ease, but struggled with the ambush that had been set up on the second floor. Indeed, Adaris fell to the onslaught of the goblin hexer and his snipers, bleeding out on the floor as close to death as mortally possible. In the end it was only a feat of human perseverance that kept him alive long enough for Tabiel to execute a series of fluky maneuvers to bring salvation to him in the form of a healing potion. Of course, no one will dare to mention Tabiel’s subsequent misstep that collapsed half the second floor, sending her crashing to the floor below.

The question for the party now is: will they continue up to the third floor of the tower, or find out what lies beneath the trapdoor they found on the first floor?

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Adventure Journal

Opening Scene

30 April 2010
by GM (Louis)

The chilly bite of autumn has returned to the morning air with the passing of another summer. The seasonal harvest has begun in earnest as farmers rush to bring in their crops before the damaging frosts hit. This year’s Farmer’s Almanac augured the coldest winter in a century, and everyone is taking the prediction seriously.

But the harvest season means Pelor’s Bounty, the harvest festival, is just around the corner. A familiar atmosphere of excitement and anticipation puts smiles on the faces of the people you pass in the street. Everyone looks forward to the day of song, dance, and the aromas of the eclectic mix of foods and spices, exotic and native. People of all races spill onto the streets and share their season’s bounties with stalls showing off raw produce in artistic arrangements, offering free food, and crafts. There are cultural displays by dancers and artisans.

Children run amok wearing the masks they fashioned from Elder Wood, painted with mocking visages of Tiamat, considered the antithesis of the spirit of the festival. In the evening the Traders Ball is held at the Merchant’s Council Concourse, at which adolescent debutantes are introduced to the higher society of those wealthier families.

But down in the Plaza d’Hugor is where the real evening action happens. Approaching dusk the duke himself appears upon the dais in the center of the plaza and address the throngs of revelers packed shoulder to shoulder. He speaks of the successes of the past year, hopes for the future, and immediate plans for the town. He finishes his speech with an offering of select produce to Pelor, followed by the lowering of Pelor’s symbol watching over the growing season, and the raising the symbol of the Raven Queen to see the town through winter’s icy assault.

Celebrations continue into the night, when the alcohol flows, and the young adults go dancing and courting until the pale shades of dawn.

And yet in spite of those familiar smiles of anticipation, there is a fog of fear casting a pall over the lead up. Smiles drop from people’s faces when they think no one is watching. Brows furrow with worry at the recent troubling events at Helum. For the first time in the history of So’ren, the usual optimism for the future has been replaced by gloomy foreboding.

People of all creeds fill the plaza, packed in and buzzing with talk about their plans for the evening. Groups of revelers weave in and out of the crowds, jostling for a better position to watch the duke’s speech and the entertainment to follow. Singers, dancers, acrobats, and storytellers would be mounting the dais to perform for the throng.

Soon the sun dips below the buildings, brushing the horizon and signalling the time for the duke’s speech. On cue guards start clearing a path through the crowd to the dais, and the duke and his family, resplendent in their Merchant Council robes, pass through and mount the dais, taking position under the large holy symbol of Pelor, and smiling out over the upturned faces.

A crier rings a shrill bell and demands quiet, repeating his call several times as the hubbub slowly dies. He then announces the duke, “Announcing His Grace the Duke of So’ren, 6th duchy of the great kingdom of Pharanathia.”

As the crier’s announcement booms out over the crowd, there is a flash of movement in the corner of your eye. A hooded figure steps in front of you from between two Yolgargths to your right, almost seeming to pass right through them. In the blink of an eye, the figure throws back his hood and reaches out to touch Dayreth. When Dayreth’s eyes focus on the figure in front of him, it is like he is looking into a mirror, face, clothes, and the rest. His mirror image smiles back at him. But in the same moment the figure disappears back into the crowd.

Back up on the dais the crier has stepped back to allow the Duke to step forward. The imposing figure of Duke Lexin raises his arms to the crowd and his booming voice eclipses even the crier’s. “Welcome good people of So’ren to Pelor’s Bounty! Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all for your efforts in making this year our most productive ever.”

At that moment there is another blur of movement from the side of the dais and Dayreth (or his image) leaps up onto stage, the glint of a small blade in his hand, and in a single movement plunges the blade into the neck of the Duke’s eldest son. The boy falls off the Dayreth’s blade and puddles to the floor of the dais. There is a horrifyingly still moment as the assassin seems to pose before the stunned crowd.

The moment ends when Dayreth leaps from the stage just as a couple of crossbow bolts smash into the stone dais, and dives into the throng. There are shouts and screams. Confusion breaks out. The duke’s family drops to inspect their fallen son. There is a bustle of movement through the panicked masses. People are trying to get away from the assassin, but with so many packed into such a small space, there is little opportunity to move.

A moment later Dayreth’s image is back and before your eyes he shimmers back into his original hooded self. You notice in that pause between breaths there are markings on the assassin’s neck, like spiraling black tattoos that seems to writhe as if animated. In the next breath he lurches towards the real Dayreth.

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