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Into the Storm Giant's Stead
The frost giants wasted no time and engaged the thieves with reckless abandon. In mere moments, only Barden the wizard, Sorn the mastermind and Steward the halfling remained of the ten that set out from Shyta-Thybaj. Then a shout came from the hill, and an ethereal greatsword appeared to slice at the leg of one of the giants. Magic missiles and firebolts launched from the wands and hands of Nissa and Ngithol, respectively. Darius led the charge down the hill, absorbing the trees being flung at him thanks to Desarkis' warding bond placed upon him.

The battle was fairly one-sided from that point. Sorn moved to flank with Darius, and Ngithol distracted another while the giants quickly lost both ground and the advantage of numbers. When the last fell, Beshenen's bow pointed at Steward, ordering a lowering of weapons. Steward responded by firing a poisoned bolt at the cleric. The wizard, Barden, put a holding spell upon Darius and shouted for everyone to calm down. Unfortunately, he placed the spell on the wrong warrior. Ngithol sprung forth and blasted the wizard and thief with burning hands, finishing off the halfling and badly wounding the wizard. Nissa then dropped a sleep spell on him, ending the hold on Darius.

When the wizard woke, he was both shaken with fear and in a rage at seeing the smoldering corpse of his best friend. When confronted by Darius, Barden's words were a mixture of vile and anger toward the paladin. Whether he was trying to goad Darius into striking, or if it was the last act of a man fearing death, no one can be sure. Darius was drawn into the argument, for sure. His own temper got the best of him, but he restrained himself from striking the wizard, though his sentiment to leave him freezing in the cold seemed to visibly bother his charge, Desarkis.

Choosing to ignore the wizard for the time being, the party moved to inspect the giant iron doors fitted snugly in the glacier. Ngithol was at a loss, not able to read giantish, or figure out any way to open the door. Nissa cast comprehend languages and could discern much of the giantish language, though the sigils only made words and none were in any intelligible order. She did, however, locate the sigils that would mean "open" in giantish, so they tried that. The doors made a heavy clanking sound, then turned a bright blue before blasting the party with an icy cone of cold spell. After a bit of healing from Beshenen, they reexamined the door. Sorn, the thief, tried to slip away, but his movement was halted when Darius stepped on his cloak. Through a misunderstanding, Desarkis, still feeling some of the effects of his barbaric rage, stepped in between the thief and has master, Darius. If the thief was to be forced to sit and take another blast of that magic, then Desarkis would have to stand up and say no. Darius, still angry from dealing with the wizard, was having a hard time seeing why his squire was stepping up to him, and ordered him out of the way. Thankfully, Ngithol, rarely the voice of concern, was able to recognize the misheard argument, and calmed all down. Darius said he, alone, would stand and work on the door, to reduce the damage taken by others. Nissa was fairly sure she had figured out the door, reading a phrase of "ride the lightning" - which made sense, as storm giants were fond of lightning, though she wasn't entirely sure what that meant, in context. Barden, the wizard, laughed, and offered up assistance to opening the door if they let him and Sorn go. Reluctantly, they agreed, and the wizard grabbed some of the remaining gear and made for the hills. Once he was clear of their sight, Barden sent a sending spell with the instructions that ride the lightning meant to open the door with lightning.

Before Nissa could speak, Ngithol launched her lightning javelin at the door, precisely where Darius was standing. The Paladin suffered both cold and lightning damage, as the trap had reset, but the door did open this time, allowing all to enter. Sorn decided to stick around, thinking he might be able to score a bit of the treasure. It wasn't like he'd be free to head back to Fingers' gang, anyway.

Inside the glacier was a perfectly carved out hall, complete with giant stone columns to hold the ceiling. Crossing the threshold the party quickly spotted some figures standing up as Darius' Reckoning shone bright blue in the cave, reflecting off the walls and providing ample light for all to see the ghouls rise. They moved to strike, but were stopped by Beshenen and Desarkis' attacks. The ghouls were merely a minor annoyance, however, compared to the terrible surprise assault from the wraiths in the walls! They very nearly killed Nissa and Darius, though both were able to survive, thanks to the quick thinking of Beshenen and Darius with their healing abilities. Unfortunately, Desarkis had sustained too many injuries in the fight with the giants, as well as having taken damage from the warding bond he'd placed upon Darius. The half-orc fell from the necrotic draining damage of the wraith's strikes. When the last wraith fell, Darius rushed to his squire's side, hoping to heal him, but it was clear the orc was too far gone. He looked up at his master and simply said, "I learned much by your not a bad man." With that, the half-orc gave his last breath.

The others were tired, but they had to press on. It was unbelievably cold inside the glacier, making it unlikely they'd be able to rest well in here. No, they needed to get the sword and get out, hopefully before the sun fell.
Session: Game Session 40 - Friday, Nov 06 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Gotta Pay the Troll Toll
While preparing to leave that morning, Beshenen gathered up some arrows from the fletcher and noticed something peculiar. He brought his findings to Darius, "As you know, I have a good eye for detail. The arrowhead Nisa found, there's no way it came from a gnoll." The cleric continued, "the distinct pattern of the grooving makes it stand out and, compared to these I got this morning, I am certain they were made by same master fletcher." Darius' suspicions were heightened. He wanted to confront and deal with Bendle for this treachery, but Ngithol stayed his hammer, "We cannot be certain the arrows weren't traded for at some point, and we do have a more pressing concern about not losing the sword were chasing after. It is possible we were duped, but then it is our own fault for being so easily fooled." Reluctantly, the paladin agreed and the party made haste to move on from Ryrej and try to make haste to the storm giant's stead.

A few hours along the pass and they were ambushed by some cold, starving trolls!

Three of the sickening giants surrounded the party and went to work, slashing, biting and gnashing at anything remotely edible. It was all the party could do to just stay in the fight! Darius and Desarkis focused as much as they could on the leader, while Ngithol did her part in keeping fire on the creature, ensuring it could not regenerate. Beshenen did what he could to keep everyone upright and fighting despite Owl's insistence on being repeatedly knocked unconscious. Unfortunately, it was not all fun and games, as Jhera was crushed under the claws and teeth of one troll. Things were beginning to look bleak. Owl was down. Desarkis took a vicious blow and faltered. Ngithol was caught and ripped from her horse and smashed into the ground. Beshenen moved to provide aid as the trolls surrounded Darius. The paladin screamed "Aid them!!" And radiant healing burst in flashes of light, healing his comrades and charging up his will. Moments later he held up Reckoning as his eyes begun to glow; even the faintest outline of angelic wings could almost be seen forming when a cacophonous boom leveled one troll. It would never move again. The paladin was growing weak, however. He had done a rare thing, nearly exhausting his holy power, instead having to rely on brute strength to finish off the remaining troll. But he would not be alone. Owl took another blow, but not before healing Darius some, and Desarkis leapt from out of nowhere to deliver a killing blow to the giant.

It was a hard earned victory. One that the party felt earned them a bit of a rest. So they took their time reloading the horses while Ngithol burned the ever living hell out of the troll corpses. Before they could continue on, however, a familiar gust of wind nearly knocked them over. Darius shuddered and dove for cover, "Dragon!" He shouted as a shiny, large copper dragon landed in their way. "I should think so. For I am a dragon!" "Boo." The "boo" actually did scare Owl, who slipped in the snow and fell down. The dragon chuckled a bit before resuming his fearsome pose, "you are trespassing in my domain. I was thinking about killing you, but then you went and killed these blasted trolls that have been irksome for a while. I was going to do it mhself, but they kept hiding. So I may be inclined to give you a pass. IF you can tell me a joke". Owl looked up and said, "I helped kill the trolls". That brought laughter from about everyone, seeing as Owl spent more time picking himself up off the ground than he did fighting. And since the dragon, who identified himself as Modierken, saw the whole thing, he was inclined to find that as funny as the rest. "You chaps are alright. I'll let you pass on your way. Be careful as there are more dangers ahead. I believe some wyverns have been feasting on travelers of late. Keep your eyes upward while traveling." The party exchanged a bit more information on their intent to find the storm giants stead, and the other humanoids searching for it. The dragon didn't share much, but did confirm that they were on the right trail and close to catching up with them.

With Modierken gone, Darius finally felt he could exhale. The last time they faced a dragon, he lost two very good friends. And sages can wax philosophically all they want about metallics being good.. In the end, they're still fearsome and dangerous creatures. In fairness to Modierken, his tip on the wyverns was good, as not but two hours later Owl spotted two of them flying in for a chase. The party rode on until they saw there was little along the pass to hide in or around, so Owl and Beshenen began firing arrows while Ngithol lobbed firebolts. Darius told Desarkis to focus on protecting the party and grabbed Reckoning. As soon as the wyverns came into range, the paladin whistled and his boots grew wings and flung him fast into the air. He collided with one wyvern and began what some bards may call a strange mating dance. Those bards are perverts. Instead, the paladin dealt crushing blows to the dragon, and it returned in kind with claw and poison from its stinger. The second swooped in to help its kin, causing a bit of damage before turning to focus on Ngithol. Darius crushed the first one's head with a severe blow from Reckoning, while the other took down Owl and Ngithol with nasty strikes. Desarkis and Beshenen worked to get their friends conscious as the wyvern shifted focus to the flying paladin. One well-placed stinger in the back and Darius was floating ever so gently to the ground. Were he awake, he would have thanked Deb'fo for the treasure that was winged boots.

The half Orc rushed to his master's side, healing Darius just as Ngithol took ankther sickening flurry of blows. However, she returned much in damage, weakening it enough that Darius and Desarkis were able to finish off the dragon. "What a horrible day", Beshenen bemused, but Darius was almost all smiles. It's not every day you get to pay the troll toll and fight wyverns while airborne.

After Nissa set up camp, Beshenen and Owl scouted the area. They came back with great news! They spotted a campfire not too far ahead. It was likely Fingers' men, meaning they could easily overtake them tomorrow if they pressed the advantage. Ngithol spit out a bit more bile from the poison, "let's talk about that in the morning. Tonight I just don't want to die anymore." Darius agreed and the group slipped into the tiny hut for some much needed rest.
Session: Game Session 38 - Friday, Sep 25 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Session 36 - Swift Retribution
Darius' discussion with Zak'Hara went better than he had hoped. The paladin expected to be criticized and possibly punished for his actions, when in fact the guardian was happy with the young Kalamaran's successes. "While your methods were suspect, your bravery and actions have likely saved Fabara's life and dealt a considerable blow to the lowlife, Fingers', business in the city. Plus, it was good to remind the city watch that their corruption has not gone unnoticed and that the swift sword is ever vigilant. Good job."

They discussed a bit further before Darius took his leave and met with the party back in the inn. There, Knut surprised them with the unconscious Ashenil and Captain Veshnyr. The captain explained he had nothing that he could hold the half-dragon for, but in light of their recent dealings, he would grant them some I observed interrogation time. Ashenil, once awake, was at least cooperative. He had no interest in dying or being arrested, and held no allegiance to Fingers. As such, the half-dragon spilled on directions to find the Storm Giant's Stead and Kargi-Mourn. It was enough information that Darius agreed to let Ashenil leave and spared his life. Owl was against it, and none were too happy with the idea that someone who they now knew to be working with Novei would get a free pass, but even Ashenil seemed to be forced into service to the warlord. So the half-dragon gathered his gear and left into the night.

Shortly before dawn both Darius and Knut were rudely awoke with a poisoned blade to the guts. Two dark elf assassins seeking retribution for their priest made attempt on the party. Unfortunately, they were outclassed by the party, once the heroes gathered their senses. Desarkis successfully slew the one, and the other was forced to make a hasty escape as Ngithol and Beshenen kept the foe from finishing off Knut. The Fhokki fought well, but the poison proved to be too much to keep upright. Aside from a few cuts and bruises, however, the party suffered little. They had no real way to track the assassin , so they instead chose to grab their gear and get out of the city early, hoping to catch up to Finger's men before they reached the giant's stead. They were two days behind, but they had Owl and Beshenen to guide them. It's possible they could find a quicker route.

So off they were to Ekof and then on to Ryrej. With any luck the weather would hold and the party could make good travel time...
Session: Game Session 36 - Friday, Aug 21 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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The Moderately Successful Escape!
The vampires made good on their word and exited the room, leaving the party to figure out how to bypass a black pudding guard. Bribery in gold might work on a lesser vampire, but not so with an amorphous ooze. However, there was a partially dissected body in the necromancer's study... They did see the guards used hacked up meat to pacify the ooze when they first crossed the room. Darius quickly nabbed the body to fling down the hallway and learned the room did, in fact, have one other surprise. Two of the skulls on the wall were flameskull sentries, protecting the necromancer's work. They flickered alive and sent fireballs spewing at the party. Ill-equipped to deal with this threat, the party chose instead to run past the pudding and barricade the doors as best they could. With the largest explosive spells exhausted, the skulls would not likely be able to take down doors meant to hold back a pudding. For once, they were absolutely correct. They made their way back to the elemental guardian room and hold up there for a moment to decide what to do next. That's when they heard hell break loose upstairs.

Guardian Zak'Hara, ten servants of the swift sword and a very agitated Nissa Timbers approached the bath house and demanded entrance into Finger's den. His men were discussing with a number of city watchmen when they were interrupted and it was only moments before the lesser capo realized Zak'Hara was not interested in conversating. The servants drew their swords and battle was joined. Nissa blew a number back with a thunderous wave, while the others battled hard against an ever-growing number of thieves. The city watch threw in with the guild, seeing as technically it was an unprovoked attack by the Halls of the Valliant's guardian. Zak'Hara shouted at Nissa to go down and find her friends while they dealt with the mess upstairs. The little gnome wasted no time darting down into the den, hoping she wasn't too late. She quickly blasted a guard with a firebolt and rushed around the corner to where she heard sounds of a battle.

During the assault upstairs, the party crept upon the thieves that had previously beaten them down. They were without the half-dragon leader, but much of their gear was laid about the tables. In fact, everything but Fraerhaem, Knut's magical blade, was present. One of the thieves mentioned Ashenil, the half-dragon, had chose the blade as his trophy. Without Ashenil, the thieves were woefully under-powered against a surprise assault and the party made short work of the thieves. Only Darius took any meaningful hits, staggering the paladin momentarily, but even he stood victorious at the end. They barricaded doors and quickly dashed to put on armor and recover their gold when a hobgoblin drunkenly stumbled into the room. He rambled on in goblin, but no one was entirely sure what he was talking about. Nissa, who'd shown up too late assumed maybe the goblin wanted more alcohol, so she pointed him toward the bar and handed a few bottles to the warrior. He smiled a toothy smile and stumbled back down the hall shouting to a number of other hobgoblins. The party did some quick interrogation to see if they could find Fingers, but realized they should be getting out of the guild-hall when it was confirmed that a veiled priest also made home here. They weren't in the proper condition to handle one of his kind.

As they made their exit the party came face to face with a bloodied, but victorious, Zak'Hara. He was overjoyed to see Darius and the party alive and well, but when Nissa let it slip that there was a veiled priest present he opted to stay and cleanse the desecrated place. Darius wouldn't leave his church's side, so the party turned to fight. Luckily for them, the priest was already on their tail and summoned forth his wraith and spectre servitors to take down the group.

It was a fairly nasty battle. One of the two acolytes in Zak'Hara's charge fell to a spectre, and Darius' wounds tore open hard in contest with the guardian spirits of the priest. He would survive, however, as the party unleashed hell upon the veiled one, providing an opening for Zak'Hara's greatsword to cleave the head from the serpent's body. They drug the lifeless corpse and thief prisoner out to show Captain Veshenr what was going on beneath the bath house. It was enough that the captain was seeking a stay of execution on Fabara, and he opted to turn his head and allow the party to get back to the inn without further complication.

Knut was clearly preoccupied, likely angry at the insult of losing Fraerhaem to the half-breed creature. The thief seemed to know something about where the half-dragon was going when overheard talking to Captain Veshenr...
Session: Game Session 35 - Friday, Aug 14 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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It was a busy week getting prepared to journey to Karasta-nu and the party had earned every bit of rest and relaxation they were going to get their last night in Shyta-Thybaj. Castigen drug Owl, Aguirre and Knut out gambling at the Gambler's Ho! establishment. It may have had a double-meaning, but the group was possibly too inebriated to catch on. Knut and Castigen did fairly well for themselves, earning enough money to pay off their living expenses in the city and pocketed a bit. The others...did less well. Aguirre spent all his earnings getting piss-drunk while Owl doubled down on losses...

The next morning when the party gathered to leave, Owl and Aguirre were nowhere to be found. After a bit of searching, the elf was located shaking off a hangover and rambling about a giant skeleton, fingers and a strange bit about a Kargi Mourn. When the story was clarified, they found Aguirre in the Giant's Fell, a trench just outside of town with a storm giant's skeleton partially uncovered in it.

Aguirre had little memory of what happened, but both were clearly the victims of a beating. Between the two, they pieced together much of the story. Nurian "Fingers", one of the more prominent thieves in the city, took Owl for a rather large amount. As an offering to square their deal, Fingers told Owl he should use his cleric friend to speak with the giant skeleton and find the whereabouts of his long lost treasury in the Vrykkar mountains. Aguirre was drunk enough to try and learned much from the giant, unfortunately, more than Fingers wanted him to know. Specifically, that the most prized treasure in his vault was Kargi Mourn. Fingers ordered the two beaten and left for dead, but Owl escaped and Aguirre fell back down in the trench. The rest of the party were, at best, bemused by the tale and ready to leave when Nissa explained she knew something of Kargi Mourn. The fabled holy sword of the Truthseekers. Darius, upon hearing this, felt it imperative they make some effort to recover this blade before some unsavory thieves get it in their possession. Castigen was completely against leaving their current mission, but the rest of the party was at least interested in a little revenge for Owl and Aguirre getting beat up, so he was over-ruled for the time being.

With a bit of investigation at Gambler's Ho!, the party spoke with a man in Finger's employ. Darius threw down a zone of truth to force information out of the man named Matthias while Aguirre simply charmed him and coerced much from the poor teamster. He was only working for Fingers to pay off some gambling debt, a debt that Aguirre was more than happy to pay, if for no other reason that no one should be in anyone else's bondage. Matthias told them where to find Fingers and the party geared up to go "Talk".

The stables were packed with buyers and sellers and the entourage of one Nurian Fingers. When the party tried to get in close and speak, some of Finger's men approached. One subtly caressed his sword hilts while speaking with Darius. It was clear that short of drawing weapons in a crowded market, there was no way the party would speak with Fingers, and they didn't deny anything that transpired from the previous night, only that the reason they had to beat the party was Owl's decision to draw on the thieves and try to renegotiate the deal once he heard of the treasure. Whether or not this was true was suspect, but Owl was too drunk to recall, and the racist slurs they claimed he made were pretty accurate to his usual ramblings. Dejected, the party left and once again prepared to leave the city. Darius had one more stop, however.

The paladin went to speak with the highest ranking member of the Truthseekers in Shyta-Thybaj, a one Adjucator Fabara. When he told her of the possibility of finding Kargi Mourn and that Fingers was what stood in the way, she explained the corruption in the city and how they could possibly utilize a friendly bartender of hers to entrap some of Finger's men, allowing for the Adjucator to lean on them for the information. It was worth a shot, so Darius took her instructions to the Strong Ox tavern and the party waited for Finger's men to arrive.

When they did, the bartender refused to pay and Darius was preparing to step in when Ngithol made a move to incite the men to assaulting her. It didnt' work and accidentally tipped off the men to the party's plan. They instead chose to leave after a small confrontation with Darius and headed down the street. Darius, incensed at yet another bit of failure charged up to their leader and layed down an ultimatum of surrender. The man flashed a city guard's clasp and said, "What will you do to--" Reckoning hit him square in the jaw, knocking him unconscious before he could finish the sentence and a second swing dropped his closest ally. Ngithol burst from the bar and set to aid her friend with a burning hands spell. In her rash decision, she caught the unconscious men as well as the remaining guards in the blast. The guards went down and the two already brought low were immolated. The people on the streets screamed at the sight of violence and magic, running about in terror. Nissa was screaming from behind them, "Why did you kill them!!?!! I could have put them to sleep!!" Knut and the others were just as perplexed, but were more focused on saving the unconscious but possibly still alive guards. By the time they were stabilized, nearly two dozen guardsmen had surrounded the party, ordering surrender and seizure. Aguirre, Castigen and Beshenen slipped out the back while Nissa and Knut tried to explain what happened with regard to the assault. Darius, Ngithol and Owl were arrested for assault and murder.

Beshenen used his magic to heal the guards that had survived and offered up testimony that the party were, in fact, heroes and not the villains they appeared to be, while Knut and Nissa backed the claim. Darius, still boiling with anger could not bring himself to calmly speak with the Captain, Veshenr, and just continued to make matters worse. Ngithol, for her part, openly admitted to burning the men, but claimed it was under self defense, despite all of the men's weapons being cleanly sheathed even after they were burned. Veshenr planned to take the guards to the Adjucator to get the full story and judgement would come after that.

Meanwhile, Castigen was making his way to speak with the Adjucator as well. He hoped to reach her before the captain, but he had little chance to beat a mounted guard while on foot. When he did arrive, he saw the men leaving with the captain and coerced his way into a quick meeting with the Adjucator. He explained all that was going on, including their situation with the warlord and hoped for leniency. She explained that there was no way she could do such a thing, and that her judgement was already finalized. Sentencing would come from Dakary himself. Castigen sighed and said, "Well, then tell them I will continue with the mission. Good luck." and the warlock headed out to leave Shyta-Thybaj and continue on his way.

At the jail, the captain explained that Owl was free to go, as was Desarkis. Only Darius and Ngithol would face the charges of murder, assault, unregistered magic within the city, and assault of an officer of the city. When Adjucator Fabara arrived, she laid a judgement of guilty on the two, and then explained that in the charge of conspiracy to commit these crimes, she was guilty of ordering this task completed, and produced the letter she had written for her bartender friend. By the alliance between the Halls of the Valliant and the Courts of Justice, Darius had to follow her orders, and as such, she was the guilty party. She would accept the guilty conviction and accept the sentencing of death by hanging. They would simply have to pay a 500gp sum to the families of the deceased and face banishment from within the city. Ngithol agreed, reluctantly, but Darius was against every aspect of the situation. By his actions, her life was forfeit.

They were given their belongings and explained that they would be accompanied by guards to collect their gear and leave the city at dawn when the gates opened...
Session: Game Session 33 - Friday, Jul 24 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Heretics and Horticulture...
Castigen continued his attempt to find the horses, successfully locating one, while finding the remains of another being feasted upon by an owlbear. The bear, recognizing another easy prey, charged after the young warlock who was all too eager to run like hell the other way.

Meanwhile, the party made arrangements with their captives in that the priest, Beshenan, would stay behind and allow the others to return and explain the situation. Darius wanted to resolve this with no more bloodshed, something he saw slipping further and further from his grasp. When he heard the awful "khoooo!" sound he was ever more sure of the futility of their situation. Two owlbears entered the clearing, hot on the trail of Castigen! Knut and Darius quickly mounted an offensive, helping to put a wall between the beasts and the less physical members of the party. A few short moments would pass and the owlbears would both decide that there were easier meals found elsewhere. Unfortunately, the heroes were in no mood to let the beasts escape, and Darius always wanted to try owlbear. Nissa lobbed a web spell and it was over before the next "khooo".

They decided that owlbear was not the delicacy some had claimed. But it was filling, and Jhera had returned with the rest of their horses. With the distractions having been dealt with, the party moved on. Beshenan lead the way to his people's camp, and would have had them there by nightfall, were it not for Nissa's wandering eyes. She spotted a glint of metal in the light and, expecting ambush, sent the party to investigate. What they found were seven iron swords embedded in a Rowan tree. Knut was explaining the old magister tale about using iron swords to bind and weaken the magic of a Rowan tree when the forest came alive with danger! Fairy dragons burst from all manner of crevasse while swarms of pixies attacked en masse. The dragons euphoric breath sent Darius and Knut off into pleasure full walks, while the pixies poison nearly sent Castigen to sleep. Nissa decided that maybe removing the swords was their best course of action, and both Ngithol and the warlock agreed. By the time Darius snapped out of his drug induced frolic, the swords were pulled and the dryad freed from her prison. She was very thankful and allowed the party to use her branches and berries as aid against their upcoming enemies. Interestingly enough, Beshenan recognized one of the swords as Tamarin's. Nissa recognized the symbols on the sword as that of a transmutation school of wizardry. Someone skilled as such could easily falsify a magic arrow...

During all of this, Knut was coming down from his high while being caught by two golden arrows mounted on giant eagles. He was less than impressed with them, and more concerned with how his friends fared against the dragons. The archers, realizing what Knut was talking about fled on ahead to learn the dryad was freed. When they did arrive, Rowan commanded the birds land and drop their mounts for punishment. Darius and Nissa talked her out of skinning them alive, ensuring that the paladin would deal with the responsible party. Reluctantly, she agreed to leave them in the party's care. As night was closing, the party elected to move on and find a safe spot to rest for the evening. Tomorrow would be a difficult day.

Reaching the cabin, the party was met with a full compliment of hunters. All of them ready to load and fire If needed. After some debate, Beshenan got the leaders to agree to speak with Darius inside. All was going to the paladin's plan. When he entered, Darius cast zone of truth and began questioning Tamarin. Alimal, the high hunter was busy, but he figured he could get enough out of the hawkeye. Unfortunately, Tamarin was no stranger to the magic of a paladin, and wisely chose his words. Darius was also oblivious to the fact that Reckoning was beginning to glow ever much more brightly. Alas, dejected, he stepped out of the hut to explain the situation when Nissa had enough. The scrappy wizard just marched forward charging up jet magic and threatening all if they didn't move out of her way. When Darius turned to head back in the cabin, the door blew open with a blast of lightning. The party was in a pickle. Surrounded by golden arrows on one side, and a wizard on the other. Oh, and he had just finished creating two revenants to kill enemies of the church. It was a brutal battle. Bodies fell on both sides, but the heroes managed to do so without suffering real losses. Darius stood strong against the revenants while Knut beat down Tamarin. And thanks to Beshenan's magic, Nissa avoided a most grievous death. But in the end, it was a zone of truth that saved the day. While Knut was mocking the wizard, he casually asked who lied and made the false arrows. Under the zone, and under stress, Tamarin shouted the truth; that he had done so. The revenants turned on their creator for that. They existed solely to destroy the heretic. Now the knew their true target. With proof given and vengeance fulfilled, the revenants souls burned away and the lifeless bodies fell next to the corpse of Tamarin. The golden arrows surrendered without further challenge. They knew themselves to be in the wrong and would accept whatever punishment Syjem doled out. It was not without bloodshed, but Darius and company were happy all the same.
Session: Game Session 32 - Friday, Jul 17 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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The Voice of Dagon
The heroes rendezvoused with the survivors hiding at the inn and made their way to the apothecary shop Nissa visited on her previous stop in Sarr. Here, they boarded up windows and doors, tied ropes to each other and prepared for another of what the townsfolk called "Dagon's Call".

While the others rested, Nissa prepared a potion of water breathing for each of her friends, and dug up the last of the apothecary's healing potions. It wasn't much, but it was all they had.

Terza approached Darius and explained that while the party cleared out the old church, she and Ngithol had successfully interrogated the innkeep, Pioter. He spilled that while there was a way to gain access to the true shrine from the church, the real entrance is just off the cliff side in a cave near the church. In good weather it wouldn't be fun to climb down that cliff, and in this weather it could be downright deadly. There's no way the inhabitants would idly sit by while the party climbed down, so Ngithol, Nissa and Owl agreed to stay topside and defend the party. Terza's remaining guards also volunteered. Well, at least they have a plan.

The call woke them violently, just as before. Only a few succumbed this time, and the relatively small shop didn't afford them any real chance of escape. Within a few minutes the wailing scream died down and Castigen nursed his jaw with an icepack made by Nissa. The party was as rested as they were going to get and they needed to move quickly.

Bursting out of the building, they made haste to the cliffs. Owl and the guards laid down cover fire at the angry mob moving toward them. The heroes wasted no time heading down the rocky path. At this point it was only about a 25 foot fall, so not enough to kill, but definitely enough to hurt, as Castigen so willingly proved when a gust of wind sent him over the edge. Before he could pull himself up from the muddy shore, a vicious and disgusting lobster-man like creature emerged from the lakeshore, shambling forward to attack. The others leapt down as quickly as possible to aid their friend; Aguirre leveling the monster with a well-placed guiding bolt followed quickly by a powerful infliction of wounds!

Above, the remaining party used hit-and-run tactics to distract the mob in hopes that they didn't see their friends descend to the lower caves. They were outnumbered, but the three heroes were more than a match for an untrained mob. Nissa's sleep spell dropped half with but a word, and many scattered from Ngithol's fire bolts. So long as the party didn't delay, they might just survive this...

Entering the cave, Darius almost immediately set off a trap, covering the party in a sticky burning ichor and alerting the caves inhabitants to their presence. The cave itself was not without a strange sense of danger. The walls all seemed to move and pulse unnaturally. All too quickly they understood why.

The intense gibbering gave it away. As a group of fish men attacked from various flanks, a gibbering mouther slimed its way across a low point in the ceiling, spitting bile at the party in an attempt to blind its next meal. The narrow opening didn't provide much room for maneuvering, unfortunately, and Knut was stuck behind his comrades as the fish men began to strike. The brutish Fhokki yelled for Aguirre to duck and he ran up the clerics back leaping through the air to strike the mouther off the ceiling. It was a stunning strike, bringing the creature down around the group. Unfortunately, they were still a long way from victory. The fish men continued their assault, with the more powerful spell casters disrupting Castigen & Aguirre with spiritual tridents while the lesser soldiers tried unsuccessfully to break the defense wall of Knut and Darius. The tide turned their way when Castigen pulled forth his bibelot and mesmerized the fish-men in a trance. From there, Darius and Knut focused on the mouther while Aguirre set to healing his comrades' wounds. With the mouther dead, the remaining fish men were barely a threat. Despite the resounding victory, there was much more to do, and the heroes desperately needed to catch their breath. They scouted ahead slowly to ensure there were no encroaching enemies before collapsing in a heap of exhaustion.

Topside, the heroes had pulled the remaining mob back into the town, hoping to use the buildings to their advantage. Unfortunately, the inhabitants knew the town better than a couple adventurers who'd been visiting during a storm and had soon surrounded the party in an alley. Ngithol blew open a portal through a wall and the heroes made a harrowing escape through a fishmonger's home. They lost one of Terza's guards, but they were still alive. How much longer was this going to take!?!

Castigen was the first to get up and get moving. If they were going to die, he was ready to get it over with. As they pressed on, they found a large pool that appeared to connect to the lake from underground somewhere. A mass of tentacles emerged, trying to drag the party under, but Castigen and Aguirre's blasts of radiant and eldritch magic forced the tentacles (and whatever they were attached to) to retreat further into the deep. The heroes considered downing their potions and following, but there was another pathway, and Castigen wanted to ensure they weren't ambushed from behind, first.

So they pressed into the final chamber. A large altar sat about ten feet below in a shallow room. Strange, stone statues of tentacled horrors appeared to writhe in place, surrounding the room. At the altar, another of those strange lobster-men worshipped. It was alerted to their presence when they entered and cast a cloud-kill spell, dropping it directly on the party! The noxious fumes felled Aguirre and Castigen immediately, but Knut and Darius were able to evade the greater damage. However, if they didn't act quickly, their friends were going to die in the spell's effect. Both Darius & Knut charged the lobster-man, only to be distracted by the Voice of Dagon himself!

An aboleth follower of Dagon, as Nissa suspected, was behind the town's situation. How it came to be in Lake Sarr is anyone's guess, but a guess for another day. It tried to dominate Knut, but the Fhokki would have none of it. Both warriors descended upon the lobster-man with intent to break his concentration, and break it they did. During the trading of blows, Darius was knocked into one of the statues, only to find he could see through all of them! They were linked as some sort of a portal. There was even a statue near his fallen friends. With the spell now disrupted and the lobster-man destroyed, Knut distracted the Aboleth long enough for Darius to teleport over and revive Castigen and Aguirre. While doing so, Knut was brought down by the aboleth and nearly drug into the waters, forcing Darius to leap back into battle with the creature while trying to lay on hands. Castigen helped Aguirre to his feet and they entered the fray as well. Between the four of them, some amazing luck, and maybe a touch of divine intervention, the Aboleth was destroyed. As it shrunk back into the depths, another call was heard through the town. This time the wailing was full of the rage and pain of defeat. When the sound finally quit and the heroes could look up and around, it was silent in the cave. The altar had boiled and melted away, leaving behind the last of the bounty that was being offered as tribute. Knut picked up a frozen blade, recognizing it as a fhokki frostbrand. Castigen's eyes went to a strange rod made of folded leaves and gold filigree; he could sense the arcane power inherent in the device. The money and treasure was packed up and the party made for the town, curious to see how their friends fared.

When they reached the top, they embraced their blood-soaked friends and traded stories of what happened. After the "voice" was slain, the call sent the people of the village into insanity and boiled their bodies from within. All that was left of them were pools of flesh and blood strewn about the place. It was eerily silent. Darius smiled at justice having been done right, for once. Everyone else smiled when they realized they had an empty town to gather up whatever supplies they needed for the continued trip to Shyta-Thybaj. Then exhaustion truly set in. They needed some sleep...
Session: Game Session 29 - Friday, Jun 12 2015 from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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That blew up in his face
Before the party progressed further Nissa arrived, having having gotten bored and leaving the inn to Ngithol's care. Seeing an opportunity, Aguirre made his excuses and left to join Ngithol's company. Apparently he was not welcome, as shortly after Ngithol herself arrived to join the party's exploration of the temple.

The walls and horrid sculptures of the furthest room in the temple seemed to write. There the party found another priest of the cult, a wizened old man surrounded by a cadre of fishmen. He offered the party a place among the town's cult, in exchange for their obedience. Surprisingly, this did not go over well, and the two groups prepared for combat.

The first rank of fishmen charged forward, boxing the party into the narrow entryway. Darius, Ngithol, and Knut struggled to push back against them and gain entry into the main room. Nissa tried to put the priest and his minions to sleep with a spell; unfortunately she wasn't yet fully proficient with combat magic and only downed one of his lesser minions. Castigen blasted away with his eldritch bolts.

The priest attempted to summon another yochlol... and botched the ritual, causing his altar to explode in his face. The party managed to carved their way through the fishmen. The priest put up a hard fight, but without his allies he had little hope. In the end none were sure who had landed the final blow on him.

Surveying the aftermath, Nissa managed to see through the illusions giving the room it horrific appearance. She deemed this as further evidence that they were facing an aboleth, as they were known for their mastery of illusion. Knut noted that one of the fishmen had a tattoo that indicated he was one of the merchant guards who had succumbed to the call and disappeared in the lake. At the far end of the room was a pool of water that appeared to lead to an underwater tunnel. The party was tired, battered, and had no desire to take a swim. They decided to head back to town, search the local apothecary for any potions that might aid them, and rest up for their final encounter with whatever malevolent force held the town in its grip.
Session: Game Session 28 - Friday, May 29 2015 from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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Tags: Level Up , Recap , Sarr
It's always the secret evil temple in the unassuming church
After what seemed like too short a rest the party geared up to check on Pioter's claim that the cult operates out of the old church on the hill overlooking the lake. Ngithol and Nissa agreed to stay behind and keep the tavern boarded up, just in case trouble came looking while the others were out.

Back out into the stormy, black day or night or whatever. It was impossible to tell at this point. Darius and Knut took up the lead while Owl covered flank. Some townsfolk gave evil stares, but only momentarily and none made any sort of approach. The town was otherwise silent, save for the roaring wind and rain, occasionally broken by the crack of thunder above.

They arrived at the church in time to witness some townsfolk enter, so the party expected some sort of struggle, but when the opened the old doors, no living soul was present. The pews were empty and no sermon was being given. The old altar had plenty of ritualistic accouterments, but none had been used in some time. Castigen and Aguirre studied the altar closely, but found no catches or hidden doors. It was only when he noticed the mud on the floor that the warlock payed more attention to the front right pew. It was askew in a way that made little sense, so Darius pulled and to their expectations a staircase appeared to descend into the dark.

They marched down and found a subterranean structure of significant size. Multiple rooms adjoined to the primary entrance hall. Along the walls were carved undersea creatures of horrid visage; kraken, leviathan, aboleth and other terrors unseen by mortals.

All the doors were locked and when Darius pried one open another strange fish man attacked. It gave a wet, sucking sound that alerted other fish men, who emerged from the other doors. It wasn't much of a fight. The. Fish men were killed and the party poked around some, looking for anything that might stop the "call". What they found was a sage's study filled with books on demonology and conjurations. The bed was covered in a slick, slimy yellow substance, but no threats were found in the room so the party backtracked to the main hall and down the larger staircase.

The stairs opened into a large ritual chamber with a well taking up about half of the space in the left side of the room. As soon as they entered they heard Alderman Ritter scream in rage and order the cultists to attack. The party laughed at the competition and prepared for the fight. It was what hid behind a large black curtain that should have had them worried.

As soon as steel clashed, a wretched gurgling summoning spell began. Then the curtain came crashing down revealing a gaunt, older priestess and the yochlol under her control! Between her spells and the amorphous demon's assault, the party was pressed back into the hallway. Darius and Knut kept pressing, but struggled to gain ground. And when the priestess filled the stairwell with a poisonous water and silverfish, Owl fell and both Aguirre and Castigen were forced to retreat further back. Knut was clear of the spell's effect, but was now surrounded. Darius rushed out of the hallway to confront the yochlol and was immediately struck down by its devastating slam!

The party did successfully rally, however. Aguirre got Owl and Darius back in the fight, while Knut kept the priestess from casting any more spells. And Castigen overcame his fear of uselessness by unloading blast after blast of eldritch energy at both the yochlol and the priestess. When the room fell to silence the heroes stood tall and all enemies lay bleeding and broken...
Session: Game Session 27 - Friday, May 08 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Tags: Dagon , Level Up , Recap , Sarr , Tharggy
Salvation through service, unyielding vigilance against corruption...
The party woke to an unwelcome sight. In addition to the three young fhokki, the room was now filled by their matron, a group of halflings and a few farm hands. These were the survivors who hid from the giants. Famorett, the matron, nervously tried to tell the party they needed to leave. Darius was angered by her lack of gratitude, but was about to acquiesce when Aguirre had heard enough. A quick charm had both Famorett and her niece Fayoress under his spell. The family helped amputate and clean Malvus' wounds while Fayoress took Frug to get some seeds.

Frug's plan to infuse their fields with druidic magic was cut short by two things. First, Aguirre's spell dissipated and set Fayoress on a mission to sever the cleric's head. And second, a horde of orc crossing the plains were spotted and would be at the settlement by the following day.

Back at the house, Famorett was also free of the spell and attacked Castigen for the ruse. The party and family all stood in a standoff, neither willing to give ground when Frug told everyone of the orc. Since both parties were unwilling to work together Darius mounted his horse and the party headed back south. They didn't get far, however, between Castigen berating Aguirre and Ngithol pointing out that Fayoress' sword had the symbol of the Valiant One on the blade. That was too much for Darius, and the paladin turned back to lend his aid.

Famorett was reluctant, but understood they had no chance of survival without the party's help. And so they set to defend the stead as quickly as possible. Fayoress helped Darius with some makeshift armor, while Frug used his mastery of the land to overgrow the vegetation through the entrance to the stead. By the time the Orc horde arrived, the party was prepared to meet them.

The war chief stopped his horde just beyond the plant growth and called out... His demands? The Orc came for what he called "the last of the destroyer". After some deliberation, the party had confirmed the "destroyer" was the title given to Obaril's grandfather, the famous halfling wizard, Tyman. Strangely enough, though long dead, Tyman's consciousness still resided in the small hematite pendant around Obaril's neck. Understanding that Tyman's knowledge would be used to devastating effect. Instead, Darius presented a silver ewer to the Orc chief; a comically terrible bluff that sent the chief into a frenzy. The horde began their adult, slowed immensely by Frug's magic.

Fayoress stood with Darius, fending off the Orc while the others struggled to meet them on the battlefield. Castigen's magic sent him blinking across the grounds, but he struggled to aid his friends in the fight. While Darius faced down the chief and his Orog champion, Frug set his second plan into motion. The plants were a distraction from the summoned flying snakes that launched out of the underbrush biting and poisoning many of the orc warriors.

The paladin and war chief traded blow after blow, but the war chief had the advantage of not being pushed beyond exhaustion. His sword struck true and took Darius down, along with slashing his right eye. The others came to his aid, though, and the party battled back. Aguirre's magic brought the chief to his knees, leaving the Orog to lead his band to victory. Unfortunately for him Frug, Darius and Aguirre made short work of the beastly orc. With his fall, the remaining orc lost their bloodlust and tried to escape. Frug in direwolf form chased them down one by one.

After the battle, Darius found Fayoress lying in the field. She was alive, but wounded. His healing hands woke her and she offered her allegiance and sword to the paladin immediately. All in all, it was a good day.
Session: Game Session 21 - Friday, Feb 13 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Tags: Level Up , Recap , Thybaj
Tomb Raiders: Part 2
"What's taking so long?", Angglet grumbled. It was getting late and she was right; the party had been down in the hole for over an hour now. Malvus left the others to make sure his friends weren't dead or, worse, looting a bunch of treasure without him. It didn't take too long to get past the bodies and the destroyed clay golem to find the heroes sitting quietly while bandaging their wounds. So far, they had found the campers dead and turned into wights by some old tomb guardians, but nothing to show for their injuries. Castigen was annoyed and expected something for both his heroics and the loss of Jinx while Darius wanted to finish off any remaining undead. Malvus questioned the continual destruction of this old tomb and frug was indicisive, as usual. Aguirre opted to go check on their friends, rather than continue the debate.

It was agreed that they should ensure no undead walked the halls, and so the party checked and opened the large bronze-banded doors in front of them. The wall paintings here displayed the horse-lord's final resting place, along with what appeared to be a guardian naga placed to protect him. Just then, Reckoning began to glow brightly as the sarcophagus lid brushed aside. The mummified remains of the horse-lord stood and issued a warning in ancient dejy. The translation was a challenge, but the intent was clear. The sarcophagus then exploded with intense force as the skeletal remains of a giant snake emerged and began to sway. Other slaves buried with the mummy stirred and the battle was joined.

The mummy itself wasn't much of a challenge. Darius leveled two intense blows at the creature before malvus ripped the ground apart dragging it toward him (and in the process triggering a hidden trap that sent a small dart at Darius' armor along with a small empty sack flying in the other direction). The mummy was all but destroyed so Malvus moved to engage the naga. Frug & Castigen worked on the skeletal slaves around the room and kept their escape path open. Then the naga began to speak. In ancient dejy it cast darkness upon the room and forced Malvus to engage Darius. Thankfully, the darkness helped ensure Darius only received glancing blows.

naga in darkness

When the darkness faded, the only remaining foe was the naga. All four turned their efforts on it with reckless abandon. Between fists, hammers and a final, well-placed eldritch blast, the snake was reduced to a pile of splintered bones. The heroes searched about the room for anything of value, seeing that the tomb was now empty of all inhabitants. Unfortunately, they failed to find anything of value. So they retraced their steps and checked the other two passages. One, as confirmed by frug, was destroyed by the passage of a purple worm, and the other housed the creation of the golem. Castigen gathered what valuables he could in spell components and tools, but even that would barely cover the cost of summoning Jinx. Dejected, the party made their way out of the tomb, only to hear Angglet screaming for them to hurry.

Topside, the area was in disarray. All of the animals were scattered, Angglet stood with an arrow in her shoulder, while Hojeshy lay face down in the snow, also brought down by arrow fire. The guard spoke of warriors on flying bats swooped in to strike and stole Erinkay from them. Aguirre attempted to give chase, but the bats were too fast. Devlyn was nowhere to be found. After a solid hour of healing and rounding up the animals, they confirmed from Aguirre that Angglet's story was correct and that Devlyn ran off with his horse. There was no time to go find him, as the party was already intent on getting to Shyta-Thybaj. Frug sent an animal messenger to Captain William, and Angglet headed back to find Devlyn. So, onward the heroes continued.

The following night, the party reached Ryjonth and it was a strange sight to behold. The town appeared to be overrun with adventurers, gibbets hung prisoners on the path, and a strange banner of a burning book and broken wand flew over the walls. The party quickly surmised that the Sentinals of the True Way had taken hold in the town and decided to take a longer path through the forest around the town. Before they could leave, however, Darius wanted to free a priest of Justicebringer from a gibbet. While doing so, they also noticed another still alive in the cage; Ngithol! A group of guards hear the ruckus near the cages and came to investigate. But Castigen's quick thinking and charming presence sent a group of adventurers after the incoming soldiers.

The party escaped with the two prisoners in tow and hid out in the forest that night. Early the next morning they could hear the sounds of soldiers and hunting dogs, so Frug once again helped them pass through the forest undetected. Even an owlbear within thirty feet left them be. Using Aguirre's map, they found an elven trail that would take them north and out of the forest within a day. Along said path, they were greeted by Laer-Thuil and her scouts coming back from tracking a group of giant bats in the area. Both parties exchanged stories and the elves agreed to escort the heroes safely to the forest's edge. Once there, the elves said their goodbyes and the party was left with the considerably longer trail to Shyta-Thybaj. At least this path was without psychotic anti-magic cabbalists.
Session: Game Session 19 - Friday, Jan 30 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Tomb Raiders
Before the party started out for Shyta-Thybaj, Koshy approached Castigen by throwing snow and his letter back at the warlock. She was angry at his apparent cowardice, but appeared more concerned over his departure for another adventure. Castigen did what he could to reassure her and shared a hug before they left.

The party was joined by Hojeshy, Erinkay the Dothoki, and two guards: Angglet and Devlyn. Angglet, a young fhokki woman from Shyta-Thybaj, had volunteered to escort the Dothoki. She is eager to prove herself, and saw this as a golden opportunity. Devlyn was just eager to get the extra pay. He was also more than happy to take on cooking duties, being his first love.

The weather was calm, if frozen, and allowed for good travel time. The party expected to be at Ryjonth In less than two days. They enjoyed great stew and spiced wine for meals, courtesy of Devlyn, which helped everyone maintain good spirits.

Early the following morning Frug spotted a campsite near a small mound. Upon closer inspection, the party discovered the camp to be deserted save for a nearly dead mule. Darius healed the animal and put Angglet in charge of watching over it. Aguirre rifled through the missing campers' belongings before finding a nifty gnome music box. Meanwhile, Frug found where the campers went.

The mound was actually an old dejy burial tomb. After finding the entrance and making their way down, the heroes sought out the now obvious tomb robbers, only to find one dead in a hallway, apparently crushed by some dirt or clay trap. They were unable to find the trigger and pushed on looking for any survivors. Instead, they found more trouble.

Two ancient wights rushed from one passage to attack the party, while the robbers' corpses rose from the dead as newly created wights and attacked from another flank. The fight was brutal, but the party was successful in destroying the undead. At this point, curiosity got the better of the party and they started searching the old tomb.

Aguirre accidentally triggered an old poison gas trap, causing some heavy vomiting, but little else. Frug was able to escape the room, but found a greater danger waiting. Chasing the gnome down the hallway was a clay golem! The party squeezed into the hall to help and the fight was on.

Darius and frug suffered the most in the battle, taking blow after flow, but refusing to give up ground. Aguirre kept the paladin in the fight while Castigen focused fire at the clay construct. Frug's wolf form afforded him protection even though his bite was mostly ineffective. Finally, Darius' smite struck true, bringing an end to the golem's rampage.

The party was exhausted, but there was still more to search. They were beginning to regret leaving Malvus with the guards...
Session: session 18 - Friday, Jan 23 2015 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Viewable by: Public
Tags: Level Up , Recap , Thybaj
Unfinished Business
The party exited Shrur-Narr through the east gate - the north gate was still being cleared away after the giant attack - and steered their horses north along the river. With luck, they could find the goblin's hideout before the snowfall forced them north to Nyton. The path was less worn, making the journey slow and, at times, down right tedious. On the second day, they were encountered by Owl, returning from Londe and looking to reunite with the group. His expert tracking skills helped in Frug's absence.

Speaking of the little gnome, Frug eventually regained consciousness and headed to Shrur-Narr to warn the town. Unfortunately, the gnome had passed out for the better part of a day and night, completely missing the battle and his companion's exit. When spotted by the dejy and fired upon, Frug disappeared in the brush and transformed into a small hare before slipping in town via another gate. He snuck around until successfully locating Novei and Chada at the inn. There, Frug told the tale of his encounter with Tusk and seeing the giant. Novei assured the gnome that the matter would be dealt with and handled with care. Chada explained that the party had left for Nyton earlier that morning and if he hurried he may possibly catch up with them. Before leaving, Novei promised to send word if the party's aid was required. Frug, out of his depth, was all to eager to wash his hands of the situation and move on.

Despite the continuing snowfall and burgeoning twilight, the party pushed on through the wooded hills. Owl found some recent tracks, likely goblin. As he guided them upward, Aguirre spotted some torches in the distance, moving alongside the party. Fearing a goblin attack, the party elected to investigate and sent Malvus on ahead. As soon as the monk closed in on the torches, their lights went out. He was in the dark, trying to get a good look at whomever held the torches when he saw a golden glow behind him. Darius' mordenkrad, Reckoning, was glowing brightly, "Undead." the paladin stated, grimly. Malvus nodded and moved cautiously closer, but was unaware of the razorvine growing in the bushes, cutting him up. The scent of fresh blood woke a large ogre laying in the bush. His dead eyes and hollow moan confirmed this as the undead Darius warned about. But before anyone could react, the torches relit and their true assailants appeared; will-o'-wisps!

The vicious undead spirits lashed out, looking for the sustenance provided by draining life from the living. Owl went down quickly, being repeatedly zapped by their sparking light. Malvus struggled, but stayed conscious and avoided the ogre's lumbering strikes. The combined assault from Castigen and Aguirre seemed to do the most damage, however, as their attacks broke through the wisps insubstantial nature. A few well-placed blasts and the wisps were gone, leaving only the zombified ogre. It shambled toward Darius, who grinned widely. They traded blows, with blasts of arcane and divine magic screeching past the paladin's head. The zombie refused to fall. First an arm was sizzled off, then the recovering Owl put an arrow in it's eye socket. Malvus leveled blows against it's legs, breaking a femur. Finally, after a multitude of attacks, Castigen's eldritch blast removed the better part of the zombie's head, bringing it to the ground, once and for all.

The heroes had little time to rest, however, as another creature was stalking them in the dark. Aguirre chuckled and called out to Frug, who stepped into the light. The gnome looked more disheveled than usual. Once again, he shared the story of the dejy and the giants, telling of Tusk's betrayal. Darius was ready to abandon their search for the goblins and return to deal with the ranger's treachery, but Castigen and Malvus stayed his hand. If Novei was in danger, he would send word to the party through Thekevi. They could turn back after dealing with the goblins. The party elected to get some sleep and let Frug regain his strength before setting out again. It made little sense to attack goblins in the night, what with their superior eyesight.

In the early morning, while Aguirre was on watch he heard the distinct sound of goblin voices off in the wood. He roused the party and they sent Malvus out to scout again. The young monk was a tad too eager and got himself spotted. Six goblins were hauling back a small badger they'd trapped and killed when one looked at Malvus hiding behind a tree. By the time the party caught up with Malvus, all but two were dead on the ground. It was a quick clean-up. Frug and Owl surveyed the area and quickly spotted the goblin's likely base, along with what appeared to be signs of a winter wolf in the area. The party quickly packed up their camp and followed the druid and ranger's lead.

we all died before that paragraph ended

Up on a clifftop were the remains of some ancient Fhokki longhouse. Smoke from a small fire escaped through the mostly open roof, and a small goblin was seen throwing rocks outside the walls. While the party crept closer - under the cover of Frug's magic - Malvus quickly sprinted to the lone goblin sentry and ended him. The rest of the group moved into position, spying on the pack inside the ruins. There were about a dozen goblins and three worgs laying about. But before the party could charge in, they heard a chilling howl. The winter wolf had been stalking them, creeping up until it got close enough to unleash his killing breath. The blast hit Darius square in the chest, but narrowly missed Aguirre and Owl. With the wolf's roar, the goblins quickly readied themselves for battle.

anyone got a breath mint?

Two goblins mounted the worgs and charged out an opening in the rear of the ruins. They were caught by Frug's entangling roots, but then something strange happened. Frug teleported across the battlefield! And when Aguirre cast some healing, he grew about five feet in height! Owl's own spell caused him to grow nearly half a foot, as well... The party was in a wild magic zone! Any spells cast could lead to weird, or even dire consiquences.

Of course, that did nothing to stop the display of magical prowess. And by the time the battle was finished Owl was spitting up bubbles while Aguirre's skin was a lovely shade of blue. Darius was riding around the battle mounted on the shocking arrival of a unicorn, and Castigen was glowing so brightly no one could look at him. It was strange, to say the least. However, the weird magic did little to change the outcome, as the majority of goblins were slain, along with their canine companions. The party gathered up the stolen supplies and prepared for their return journey to Nyton. When they reached the river, they were shocked to see a body floating. Dragging it to shore, it was the young servant who spilled mead all over Darius. They had not previously noticed the shackles tattooed on the arms and legs of the servant, but the gaping hole where the heart should be let them know for sure this was a ritual sacrifice to the Overlord.

The next few days were uneventful. Despite the consistent snowfall, it was relatively mild weather, and the river froze up in just the right spot to cross with the horses. The party even came upon some friendly centaur scouting the Fyban. They shared stories of Ghasts in the wood and of concerns with the dejy hunters in Shrur-Narr. The centaur also informed the party that a lone dejy was about a day ahead of them on the road, and he appeared to be traveling from Shrur-Narr. They said their goodbyes and the party made haste to find this dejy traveler.

Near the end of the day, and after a good hard ride, the party spotted the dejy. Malvus ran up to make a peaceful greeting, but the warrior was unwilling. In a futile attempt to escape, he tried to outrun the monk. It didn't work. Once the party caught up, they surrounded the man and forced him to speak. His name was Hojeshy, the former dejy leader. Darius looked as if he would end the man's life for attempting to kill his own daughter, but he resisted and let the old dejy warrior speak:

Novei is not what he seems. He believes to be the son of Asha, the Overlord, and sees the wildlands as his to conquer. Recently, he made a pact with Chada, my daughter, and performed a ritual that bound them in the Pure One's love. So long as she lives, he cannot die. I feared for what this meant to my people, and the free people of Tharggy and Thybaj. As such, I ordered my two most trusted hunters to take Chada into the forest and offer her to the dragon, Cybanix. You saved her life, but at the cost of thousands. Novei will conquer this land. I do not see a way to stop him now.

The party was obviously dismayed to learn Novei had deceived them. None were more angry than Darius. There was little to be done in the dead of winter, so reluctantly, the party continued on for Nyton. The winter would shield them from the dejy...
Session: Game Session 14 - Friday, Dec 26 2014 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Attack on Shrur-Narr
Rest was well-earned and well-received that night. In the morning the heroes were welcomed with high praise from the dejy people. Novei had their weapons and armor cleaned and personally joined them for breakfast. He offered them a decent reward for Chada's return and suggested they stay with the camp for as long as they wished. While the coin was accepted, Castigen could not hide his urgency at getting to Shyta-Thybaj. The rest of the group, save for Frug, agreed. No one was sure where Frug had ran off to. The dejy saw him leave early that morning.

While the party readied for departure, Thekevi approached Aguirre and offered up a gift to the young quester. He gave Aguirre an old map of the wildlands region with text all throughout the margins and star charts in the back of the map; the worlder's copy of Endless Journey! Aguirre thanked him, not really sure what to say to such a gift. Breaking the awkwardness with even more awkwardness, a servant tripped while handing a mug of warmed milk and honey to Castigen and spilled it all over Darius' new golden tabard. Novei was embarrassed and angry, and had servants clean the tabard with haste. The paladin was neither harmed or angry, but welcomed the cleaning.

When some hunters returned with game, they greeted the heroes and passed by, showing the deer they killed, along with a number of larger animal traps on their packs. While they were unloading a rumbling was felt in the ground. From beneath the horses burst a bulette!

The dejy were scrambling in confusion while the heroes moved to intercept. The large monstrosity leapt into the air and crashed down upon Darius and Malvus, smashing the Paladin and nearly crushing his chest with its massive jaws. Aguirre and Castigen took tactical positions while the paladin and monk squared off against the bulette. Between mordenkrad and spear, the beast was brought down quickly.

Novei and a group of dejy Warriors arrived just too late to help. They were amazed at the heroes dominating display. The dejy leader hoped one day join the paladin in battle, and maybe repay some of the kindness shown by the heroes.

Finally, the party returned to Shrur-Narr. Warden Vecca and the rest of the town gave a warm welcome, and even warmer reward for breaking the curse. The money gained was used to pay for horses and supplies for the return trip to Nyton and Castigen made a few deals to ship furs to Nyton, possibly recouping some loss for the horses.

The party had been on the move all day, not having any time for rest. When they finally sat down at the inn for food and sleep an alarm horn sounded off through the town. One from the south, then one from the east and north walls, too! The heroes ran toward the closer, eastern wall first just in time to see a hill giant pass through a gap in the wall! The party scrambled quickly and worked with the guards to bring down the giant. They survived with minimal damage taken, but the battle was far from over.

They turned to the south gate and rushed to aid the warriors. The giant spotted them first, however and lobbed part of a chimney at Aguirre. When Malvus rounded the corner, he was struck by a cart the giant threw and fell to the ground, unconscious. Darius healed him and moved to engage while Castigen lobbed eldritch blasts at the Giants face; the giant responded with a horse trough to Castigen's face.

Darius compelled the giant to focus on him, allowing Malvus time to get into position. Aguirre summoned a spiritual staff and harassed the Giant giving Castigen a perfect opening to blast him in the face, killing the creature.

When they turned to face off against the third giant, they were instead met by Vecca and Novei! The dejy leader carried a Giants head in one hand, his great sword in the other. The warden explained they were nearly crushed when Novei and his dejy riders came to the town's aid. They heard the horns and rushed to help. After surveying the damage, Novei announced he would keep his people in Shrur-Narr through winter to keep them protected from any further attacks. Vecca accepted the noble offer. The people would have struggled through winter without help.

Finally, the heroes could relax. Giants were slain, supplies were packed and ready for departure, and spiced wine was flowing. Sleep came easily that night.
Session: Game session 13 - Friday, Dec 19 2014 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Buried Evil
Travel was much slower on the back half of their trip. Kaetlith was still injured and Malvus seemed to suffer some internal wound as well, bringing their speed to a crawl. With night falling fast it was decided they would find a place to settle in for the night. Owl went on ahead to scout while the others found a thicket to set up camp in.

While Darius and Castigen got the tents and fire going, Frug and Aguirre foraged for some food. As luck would have it, a pheasant landed on a tree not far from the pair. Before either could make a move to catch it, the bird was skewered by branches from the tree it sat upon! Frug's eyes darted around the thicket, counting their numbers. "Run, warn the others! Blight!", he shouted to Aguirre before covering the cleric in barkskin. Aguirre was not going to leave his friend alone, however, and stood ground to fight.

Over at the camp, needles flew from the tree line, striking Chada, Darius and Castigen. Malvus, already laying in a tent, was unharmed. The heroes turned to face their attackers and were surprised to see the entire thicket moving in. The blights thirsted for blood and did everything possible to end the heroes. Quick thinking kept the party up and fighting. Before long, the last of the blights were broken. Owl and Kaetlith returned shortly thereafter to warn them of blight in the area, but a single look from Castigen quieted the pair. The party instead moved up river a little further and made camp for the night.

The next day, following morning prayers, a massive, beautiful Dhrokkeran Charger approached the paladin. Darius introduced his companions to his new ally. "The Valiant One provides companionship to those on their search". It was a nice encounter, as opposed to much of the other dangers they had faced. A few hours later they approached Shrur-Narr.

The town was more an outpost than anything. Up in the hills, the mostly stone wall could be seen for miles. A Thar banner flew atop the watchtower, Some riverboats could be seen leaving the dock, and just beyond the town a dejy camp was setup. Chada's people were there, but they were under the banner of Noveiy, one of her father's hunters. It was likely a change in power had taken place. That was an issue for tomorrow, however. The heroes were tired and Malvus needed some bed rest to recover his strength. Shrur-Narr itself was... off. While the gate was open and people moved about, they kept to themselves and it was hard to not notice the windows of all buildings were boarded up.

In the town, they spoke with the first watch they encountered, and fortuitously it was the warden of the city, Vecca Gustcaller they spoke. After hearing of their travel, she thanked them for dealing with the goblins and confirmed a reward could be received at the barracks. When pressed about the current state of the town, Vecca said it was nothing her people couldn't handle. Castigen made it a point to get directions to a general store, hoping to get out of his cold, wet obviously non-traveling clothes. The others headed for the barracks to see about a reward.

Before Darius could reach the barracks, he heard a loud call in the street, "Remember, men, a coward dies many times! Let's give them a few more to remember!" As he rounded the corner, the paladin saw a Protector of the Valiant one ordering a few guards in battle against a wave of undead. With a quick call-to-arms, the heroes rushed in to aid the soldiers. Frug appeared to call down beams of light from Pelselond, burning the zombies, while Aguirre held forth his holy symbol and turned the pack away from the soldiers and fleeing civilians. After that, it was easy clean-up for Darius and Castigen.

The Protector thanked them, introducing himself as Leo Boelain, a cleric of Naemae, the Valiant One. Leo guided the party to the last inn and told the tale of Shrur-Narr's struggle. "A few weeks ago, something woke the dead in the town. At first, they came from the old church cemetery, but any who have died rise up again if they're not cleansed and the bodies destroyed." Frug and Darius were more than willing to check out the old church. Leo had previously investigated, but no leads came up. The results were different with the party in tow.

Frug inspected the grounds, confirming the earth was still sanctified and Aguirre looked for clues inside the church. It was clearly an ancient dwarven church, but to what god, he was not positive; only that it was definitely of the celestial council. Darius then reached out with his divine sense, and was nearly brought to his knees! The repugnant infection of evil was all about this place, deep underground. It was strong enough to shake the paladin's will and put doubt in his mind. Frug then used an old ritual to detect magic and found a secret passage hidden in the floor. Aguirre read the passage lock in old dwarvish and the portal was opened. All agreed that this evil needed to be dealt with, and all entered the stairway.

Deep beneath the town, the stairway opened up into a circular room, clearly marked as a temple to the Valiant one. The evil was even more pervasive down here, however. There were four chambers, each in a different direction. The party began going room by room. The storage was clear, so they moved on to the east. The end of the hall was a small staircase that lead into a massive domed hall. The center of the room were statues of dwarf paladins and a powerful angel. A brazier still burned with fire. Adorning the walls were ancient dwarven suits of armor. Frug informed the party that the suits were clearly enchanted and would likely attack when they entered. The brazier, however, was something else.

Darius was the first to go in, waking the suits and taking on the animated armors. The fire then erupted into green flame as a skull flew out, cackling madly. It spewed fire from its mouth and burned everything in its wake. Frug went to action, summoning giant frogs to devour the skeleton and interrupt the armors. Castigen continued to wreak havoc with his eldritch magic and the combined sacred flame of Aguirre and Boelain brought another suit to the ground.

The skull made every attempt to escape the stomach of the frog, nearly killing it before the acid snuffed out its flame. The other armors were quickly dispatched and the room was once again silent. Boelain and Castigen looked around the statues, looking for a lever, as the old cleric informed them the body of that skull needed to be destroyed or it would return shortly. They found the hidden tomb and saw the holy writing had been destroyed by dark magic. Frug burned the bones while Castigen doused them in holy water.

After the fire was out, a weapon could be seen beneath the ashes. Darius reached in and pulled out a masterwork dwarven Mordenkraad. It was heavier than his own maul, and written on either side of the hammer were the words, in dwarven:

Blessed is he who stands as a sentinel against the dead


Powerful is he who walks the path of Lusurk, the Valiant One

"You earned it, boy. Go on", said Boelain. Darius took the hammer and placed his in the tomb. "Does it have a name?", he asked Aguirre. The journeyman could not see any further etchings, "It is yours to name."

"Gather your strength, there is more work to be done", said Darius, grimly.

Session: Game Session 11 - Friday, Dec 05 2014 from 9:15 PM to 2:15 AM
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