Journal Posts

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Pressing On... To Pyrrhic Victory...
The party chose to rest up, using another tiny but ritual just to get their bearings. Once they did, they pushed forward taking in the impressive cavern. Murals carved along the walls were clearly of dwarven design, but showed the dwarves in defeat. This is a rare find by any historian, as it means that the giant had kept dwarven artisans just to create a tapestry of their own failure and loss. Ngithol was able to make out the clan as Thunderhoof. They were prominent during her time, or place, or whatever she was from. It mattered little, but was interesting none the less.

As they continued on, they found the hall of dwarven armors. All of the kings and generals in the Thunderhooves clan stood here; a trophy room. Some were slowly becoming encased in ice, as if the magic in this cavern was broken somehow. Nissa recognized an animation spell when entering the hall and prepared party for assault. The suits not frozen to the bases walked off their mounts and began assault. It wasn't a nasty battle, but the animated suits did get a few licks in before being shut down permanently. Ngithol suited up one of the full plates that were mostly undamaged and the party forged ahead.

The next room was even more corrupted by the magical ice, creating a slick incline that hampered the party when assaulted by a group of Minotaur skeletons. The first leveled a direct goring charge at Ngithol, taking her to the ground for a moment. The others rallied behind Darius and Reckoning, as it is truly a sight to behold when a paladin wields a smiting hammer against a skeleton. There was little cause for concern when the powdered bones mixed with the melted ice from Nissa and Ngithols Firebolts. And on they walked....


The party eventually uncovered the cause of the magical interference. An ancient shrine to the Flaymaster was damaged and pulsing erratically, messing with the caverns magical auras and likely the cause of the undead. Unfortunately, there was more undead in here! From high up in the ceiling came two beholder zombies!! Eye rays launched and reflected off the ice, blasting the party in all angles. Darius flew up to meet them with his winged boots, while Ngithol tried to goad one down to her terms. All was going well with strong tactics and focused fire, when an erratic beam caught the dwarf in her shoulder. Disintegrate. In an instant Ngithol was gone. Nissa, Darius and Sorn redoubled efforts and barely survived. The rogue was then able to shut down the weird shrine, protecting them from any future magical issues. Darius gathered up the dust left behind of ngithol's passing, hoping the dwarves could maybe bring her back. He might even trade his mighty maul for his friend's life. But that was after they finished the mission. The end of the hall had two large vault doors locked and sealed tight. They found the treasury.

Sorn proved to be useful, again in getting them passed the locks. Once inside, they found a large cache of gold, gems, silver and copper coins, along with potions and scrolls, and in the center of the room on a dais rested Kargi-Mourn. Decorating the room were beautiful tapestries adorned with fire snakes. Each worth a sizable amount of money, but also hiding a nasty secret. Before Darius could reach for the sword, the snakes came to life and leapt from the tapestries. Most were simple flame snakes, but two were much more dangerous: Nagas! One guardian and one bone naga, all working together to protect the dungeon for all time. In an instant, lightning shot from one naga, hitting Nissa and Sorn and killing Beshenen outright. Sorn fell next, but was brought back up with a goodberry, while Nissa and Darius finished off the bone naga. Darius then suffered a nasty hit and was dropped, forcing Nissa to also bring Darius up with her last berry. That was just enough, as he was able to finish off the last naga while Nissa destroyed the tapestries and stopped more from emerging. She fell from a snakebite but Darius was able to stabilize the wizard after attending to Sorn. Beshenen was already lost to them.

The party gathered the treasure and the sword and took their fallen comrade's body out to be buried as is his people's custom. They made a simple rock grave and burned Desarkis' body, though Darius did grab a finger bone with intent to see about his squires resurrection as well. Unfortunately, they had nearly 100 miles to cross in less than ten days, and their guide was dead. It was not going to be easy....
Session: Game Session 42 - Monday, Nov 30 2015 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
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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 lead...you...are 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 - Saturday, Nov 07 2015 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Trailing through the Pass
Owl calmly woke the party inside the magical hut to warn hem of company. A group of orogs had entered into their campsite and we're moving to the hut. Ngithol and Darius began suiting up, knowing the orogs couldn't enter the hut. Unfortunately, the lead orog was wise to the magic and ordered his men to cut down the horses and mule when the party didn't immediately exit. That move got the group jumping faster with Owl and Beshenen momentarily stepping outbid the hut to launch some arrows at their assailants. That bought Ngithol and Darius enough time and they exploded from Nissa's magical barrier and the battle was joined.

The dwarf's blade barrier protected her from the majority of blows as the orogs swarmed her first. The leader then moved in to quarrel with both the paladin and eldritch knight. He proved to be more than a match for the two, with Ngithol taking some severe blows before the orog drew a topaz encrusted javelin from his back and spun to throw past Darius and Ngithol to target Desarkis. However, he shouted "incinerate" in orcish, causing the javelin to transform into a lightning bolt, striking all three with a blast of magical energy. Ngithol resisted, thanks to Plumphelmet, the pseudodragon hiding on her shoulder. Unfortunately, the next barrage of attacks would become more costly. Ngithol was momentarily dropped, along with Owl, followed by Nissa.l. Darius and Desksrkis kept fighting while Beshenen worked to bring the others up with healing magic. Slowly, the tide turned, especially when Nissa unloaded a barrage of magic missiles, ending the orog leader's life. Within moments of his fall, the others rallied to finish off the remaining orogs.

It was a stressful way to wake up, not to mention costly. They were now left without any mounts to carry gear, so Owl stashed what they couldn't carry behind some rocks and they pressed on to catch up with fingers' men. Beshenen and Owl found the campsite, but were unable to track the bandits any further. They were obviously using some camouflaging magic, though it would be of little use. The party knew where the giant's stead was. They would meet up soon enough. As such, Beshenen lead the party through a safer route up the pass; one they couldn't have taken on horseback and would help them make up time.

Along the way, they were encountered by three druids, one of which seemed to know Nissa. They explained that Jynko, the female druid, also had the gift of visions and had the same dreams as the gnome wizard. They were seeking Parn to help free the totemic spirits. Nissa was worried after speaking with the druids that she may have misinterpreted the dream, but was still convinced that a trek to Reanaaria was necessary to save the young woman's life. The three shared information and a few potions to help their new friends and continued on their way.

Later that day, as the party continued to climb through the pass, Ngithol heard a cry for help in dwarvish. Looking down a slippery snow covered slope was a dwarf desperately trying to move a broken cart. Not sixty feet away was an iron covered gorgon, snorting and pawing at the ground, preparing to charge. The archers loosed arrows while Desarkis blasted the creature with magic. Ngithol attempted to charge down the slope but lost her footing and crashed to the lower pass, barely able to stand from the tumble. That alerted the gorgon and it charged at the dwarf. Nissa's magic caused the creature to miss the goring charge, but it was able to trample Ngithol into unconsciousness. It then turned attention to the ranged assailants and launched its noxious breath up the hill. Beshenen suffered the worst, slowly turning to stone, while Desarkis was affected but was able to break free after being restrained. Darius took to the skies to charge the monstrosity as Ngithol was getting up. She drew forth the javelin taken from the orog and shouted "incinerate!" Unfortunately, her throw went high and the Lightning bolt struck the side of the mountain instead of the gorgon. A thunderous explosion, followed by an avalanche of snow and ice tumbled down the mountain covering the party, gorgon and dwarf. Darius was missed due to flying in the air, and Ngithol barely outran the snow. The others weren't so lucky. Nissa was the first to dig herself free, only to find she was in the direct path of the gorgon. It charged forth knocking her out, only to immediately fall from Ngithol's firebolts. The conscious members then set to rescuing their friends. It took a while, but everyone was located, even the stone form of Beshenen. And what luck, but one of the potions provided by the druids restored the sure shot back to flesh! The dwarf, named Rougan, thanked the party and told them he would be happy to make restitution for saving his life if they make their way to Karasta-nu. The party gave him some supplies and continued on their way.

Upward, further into the pass the party journeyed. Eventually coming into a valley blocked by an old glacier. The sounds of battle and screaming could be heard as the party saw fingers' men running from three frost giants!! Just beyond the giants could be seen a massive iron door inside the glacier... The storm giant's stead, at last!
Session: Game Session 39 - Saturday, Oct 03 2015 from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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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 - Saturday, Sep 26 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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Into the Mountains
The party made good time in getting to Ekof, narrowly avoiding a particularly nasty blizzard that picked up coming off the mountains. They settled in for the night at Ekof commons, the only tavern and inn that caters to travelers coming and going. Their night was not uneventful, however, as a halfling merchant named Bendle and his guide, Ebert approached them with a job.

Bendle recently came into a deal with some nearby gnolls for a large amount of furs. The gnolls, either being too stupid to know the worth, or unable to sell them anywhere else, were offering up a massive trade for a ridiculously low price. Too good for the merchant to pass up. However, Bendle was not a stupid man, and knew better than to enter into a deal with gnolls without good backup. Having heard about Darius and the party's recent exploits, he figured a ten percent cut of the furs would be a reasonable share for watching the halfling's back during the trade. He wasn't expecting trouble, but gnolls have historically enjoyed halfling flesh.

The party agreed and all set out in the morning toward the meeting place. The snow had barely let up from that night before, greatly slowing their travel and ability to see. It was unfortunate, then, that Owl was off tracking the southern slope when they were ambushed by a small group of winter wolves!



The wolves moved in concert and attacked from all sides at once. Darius and Jhera took on the leader while Nissa, Bendle and Ebert held off another. Ngithol led Desarkis and Beshenel toward the third. It was a fairly nasty battle, and one that decidedly favored the wolves in their preferred climate. But home field advantage isn't always enough and while Darius took enough damage to fall, his mighty warhorse was more than enough to finish off the alpha. Meanwhile, Nissa and Bendle finished off the second, and between Desarkis' axe and Ngithol's fire, the final wolf was put down. Before they could enjoy the victory the party needed shelter from the continuing flurry of snow. Nissa opened up a mystical hut using her magic while Desarkis pulled the unconscious Beshenel and Darius inside. They moved to help Ebert, Bendel's guide, but found him frozen from the winter wolf's breath. A silent prayer was given, and the party slipped inside the hut for protection from the elements.

Once they had sufficiently rested and recovered the party set out again to meet with the gnolls. The weather had lessened and was now mostly clear skies with just the slightest breeze. Approaching the small valley where the gnolls were located, Darius was suspect. The gnoll pack leader stood out in the open with four armed warriors and a rather large pack of furs. Bendle and Darius moved down first, with the others keeping an eye out for danger. The gnolls were suspect of a non-halfling arriving to make the trade, but barked out his offer and Bendle agreed, showing the large pile of coin to trade. Just then, an arrow fluttered out from behind the visible gnolls and would have struck Nissa square in the chest were it not for her otherwise invisible mage armor. The arrow shattered off into the snow and the party quickly responded to the ruse, following Bendle into the fray. The fight was over so quick. What looked to be a serious skirmish was rendered moot when Nissa cast shatter upon the packlord and his guards. All three dropped instantly, their gear, eyes and brain matter exploding from the thunderous blast. The remaining gnolls tried to escape, but Jhera trampled one down while the other was caught by the arrival of a halfling scout, Emitt. He was wary of the deal that Bendle and his brother, Ebert had gotten into and came to survey the situation. A good thing, too, as the last gnoll may have gotten away were it not for his well-timed arrows.

Something didn't sit right with Nissa or Darius in how this all played out, however. They could locate gnoll tracks all about the place, but were unable to find the assumed shooter or his precise location. Nissa did locate a piece of the arrowhead that missed her, and it did appear to match up to the arrows used by the other two gnolls they did manage to drop. The whole situation was not without disappointment, however, as Emitt lamented the loss of his brother by the wolves, and regretted not being with his brother to help save him. The party spent the next few hours loading up the furs and checking the gap for any more gnolls. Bendle offered up the reward to the party in coin, seeing how he didn't end up having to spend it on the furs, which was a welcome offer, as it kept weight off the party's mounts and ensured the party didn't have to get the fur anywhere for trade and such. Besides, 1,800 dothok (gp) was a solid payday.

They arrived in Ryrej just before dusk and settled in the comfy calf for a nice warm stew and sleep for the night...
Session: Game Session 37 - Saturday, Sep 12 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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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 - Saturday, Aug 22 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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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 - Saturday, Aug 15 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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Finger Hut
The party wasted no time getting to Nurian's Bath-House. A quick intimidate and a sleep spell put the guards down and the group prepared to enter the sub-level where Elnettle claimed the guild house was located.

They were quickly met with opposition as a group of thieves were in handing over their scores to the pit-boss. Darius threw back his cloak and ordered them to surrender or die. They chose poorly and the fight went as expected, with only Owl and Knut suffering any serious wounds. Before too long, the surviving thugs offered surrender and were let escape with their lives, provided they knew better than to return.

Unfortunately, one thug ran the other way, likely raising alert to their presence and not giving anyone time to rest. When the party gave chase they ran into a surprise trap, instead. Two air elementals were bound to the room and assaulted anyone who did not know the password.



Since the party didn't hear what the thug had shouted, they were in for a bruising. Ngithol was flung hard into the wall, crushing her left eye and knocking the dwarf out cold, while the others surrounded the elementals and beat them into nothingness. It was a sound victory, but not without cost. They wasted precious time and allowed the thieves to prepare for assault in the next room. That would lead to the party's failing.

When the door was opened crossbow bolts rained through, peppering the party and forcing them to take a defensive position. Leading the thieves was a half-dragon man who aggressively shot the gap and unleashed fire into the group, dropping Darius and wounding Beshenen and Desarkis badly. From there it was a retreating fight. Ngithol tried to drag Darius' out of the room while Owl and Beshenen worked to get Desarkis free. It was left to Nissa and Knut fighting the rest of the thugs and there were just too many. Slowly, Knut was repeatedly hit with bolts from a hidden halfling while defending himself against the blows from a bandit captain and the half-dragon. When knut fell it was clear the fight was over. The party was offered surrender and wisely accepted. All but Nissa, who was just far enough down the hall that she was able to make an escape to the upper levels and disappear. The party was shackled and taken to the cells for interrogation and torture later.

Nissa made a fast break to the Halls of the Valliant in hopes of securing aid from Zak'hara and the servants of the swift sword. He was taken back at Darius' brash move, but someone impressed with the young paladin's boldness. Despite what he should or should not do, the cleric was not about to let one of his own be tortured by some low thief. He called the church to arms and followed Nissa back to the bath house.

By the time Darius regained consciousness, the party was chained up in a cell waiting for someone to come and likely torture them. Those that were awake during the transport saw the flayed body in a nearby room that was being studied, along with skulls adorning the shelves. It was not a pretty sight and a fitting end for their adventuring days. Of course, Darius and Ngithol had other plans. The paladin used his mighty strength to rip the chains off the wall and Ngithol summoned both of her bonded weapons to hand in preparation for battle. Knut then followed suit and the rest were broken free. The dwarf's mace of smiting made short work of the cell door and the party was free to find a way out of this hell. But first, they had one more guard to get past.



Swinging from a cage in the adjoining room was a pseudodragon. the poor thing looked like it'd been through a few rounds of torture itself and was all too eager to get out of its cage. Repeatedly sending warm thoughts toward Ngithol and Darius, it hoped to secure a friendship and a means of escape. While they were apprehensive of releasing the creature it did seem mostly harmless, so Nigthol acquiesced.

It qiuckly made friends with the party and found a safe place to sit on the dwarf's shoulder. They began to make their way out of the place when Darius sensed an overwhelming amount of undeath in the area. The skulls on the walls, though inactive, were flameskulls. They were woefully under prepared to deal with a set of four flameskulls at this time, so they pressed on out of the room, only to come face to face with even more undead; two vampires sat on a guard duty!

Darius raised his sword and prepared to shout all manner of holy utterances when the vampires raised their hands in protest. They were pissed at the mistreatment being sent their way by Fingers and were not looking to be simple guards for his guild when they came to speak with him. If the party were to leave them be and compensate them monetarily, they had no trouble being gone before the adventurers returned. The paladin was against making any sort of deal, but the others were more interested in getting revenge against Fingers or getting out alive. A duel with some vampires seemed to be one more impossible obstacle in their way. So, reluctantly, Darius agreed, but not before he asked the name of a paladin the Vampires apparently both knew and admired. Such a thing must be impossible and would need to be dealt with by the church. "Protector Navadaal, is his name. A good man; you would probably like him." The vampire chuckled and motioned that either of the two exits out of here would be met with opposition. One way housed the black pudding, while the other is used as the waste disposal, and the beasties in there were no better, though the vampire wasn't sure what they were called...
Session: Session 34 - Saturday, Aug 01 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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Epic!
Entrapment
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 - Saturday, Jul 25 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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Epic!
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 - Saturday, Jul 18 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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"We're not here to kill you, but by chance what is your religion's funerary customs?"
The day's ride up into the woods was met with nothing but light rain and sleet. The weather was mostly bearable, making the trip a little too pleasant. That must be the reason behind the party's relaxed and complete lack of focus. A mistake they would feel soon.



While packing up the tents, Owl argued with Darius on exactly how the party should handle the heretics; the elf wanted to sneak in and execute them all with precision. Darius was still having trouble with this task and wished to speak with the priests, in case there was a misunderstanding. Suddenly, a flash of light burst from the underbrush, planting an arrow of radiant light into the chest of the paladin. He cried out in more anger than pain, realizing his hope of diplomacy was long cast aside. The trees then erupted with a rain of arrows. The heroes scampered for cover, but there was little to be found in the clearing. And before they could react to the archers, a pair of dogs blinked in and out of reality, targeting both Castigen and Aguirre. The animals were clearly smart, focusing on casters.

Knut dove for his shield, but suffered many arrows before getting the mighty steel in place. One of the dogs tore him to the ground, dragging him across the field unconsciously. Nissa dove under the only horse that didn't run in the insanity, Jhera, and looked for a target in the cover. She found a few archers in the trees and gave them a long nap. One even fell from his perch, snapping his neck on the way down.

Darius' focus went directly toward the priest who fired the arrow and he cahrged. Reckoning hit true, sending the preist into a slumber while his two guards drew swords and began to retaliate. The one shouted accusations at the paladin for coming in to kill them. Why else would a group of mercenaries be so close to their hunting grounds (and literally discussing how best to deal with the heretics...see arguments being loudly made above). Darius shouted back that he had no intention of killing when Aguirre inflicted a lifetime of suffering upon one of the blink dogs. It was a one-sided argument, unfortunately, and when the warrior threatened Darius and his friends with an ultimatum of death, the paladin snapped... and crushed the warriors head in one heavy hit. Ngithol moved to slow the other with fiery blasts, trying to close in on where Castigen fell. Knut then recovered and helped free Aguirre from the dogs before chasing after one of the remaining archers.

When all was finished, three archers escaped, and the heroes were revived using what little magic Aguirre had left. Nissa's face was badly scarred from an arrow that pierced her cheek, and Knut was limping around in serious pain. Otherwise, they were fairly successful. They also managed to capture three of the ambushers alive. The priest, his guard, and one archer. Ngithol prepared a pyre for the bodies while Darius used his lay on hands to wake their prisoners. Castigen wandered off to look for the horses that got spooked and eventually Owl followed after to find Castigen.

The priest, a sure shot, was ready to accept his fate, seeing the pyre, but Darius was still not ready to just execute everyone without more information. The sure shot explained that his insurrection came from two other church members; Hawkeye Tabarin and high hunter Alimal. Tabarin came forward with proof that Hutmaster Syjem used enchanted arrows to bring down his prey. This is strictly prohibited during their annual hunts, and would mean disqualification and punishment. Syjem denied the allegations and before long things escalated. At this time, the church is split and his companions are looking for a way to deal with the situation. They were surprised to see a group of mercenaries coming for them, but the elf's comments confirmed their suspicions and they attacked. Again, the sure shot accepted his fate.

Darius simply asked that he lead the party to this Alimal so that the paladin could maybe talk things through. He was tired of bloodshed this day, and hoped for a more peaceful end to atone for his loss of control...
Session: Game Session 31 - Friday, Jul 03 2015 from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM
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To Shyta-thybaj
Once the valuables of Sarr had been picked over and the river barge was loaded up, the party (now including Terza and her Golden Alliance merchants along Matthias and his remaining entourage) was ready to make their way down river to Shyta-Thybaj. Their hope was the barge would not only expedite their journey, but that it would also give them the greatest chance to avoid any other distractions. For the most part, that was accurate.



They reduced travel time by approximately two weeks, and were only a day from Gytor when Matthias shouted for everyone to wake that morning. As they quickly rushed up from the storage cabin they could easily see his frustration. The river was blocked by a number of large boulders! The way the water was pooling made it obvious that the boulders had not been there long, and when the next one landed close to the boat, Knut called out their originator, "Giant! Over der!" A rather tall and lanky stone giant was rummaging through a mess of boulders and throwing them toward the party's boat. Darius and Castigen leapt from the boat and prepared for battle when the warlock suggested maybe they talk with it? Of course, no one spoke giant, not even the dwarf, though she was fluent in elvish.





Darius and Castigen both tried their hand at communicating, as they weren't sure the giant wanted to attack. The paladin thought he could maybe pantomime moving the rocks, but that seemed to really irritate the giant, so much so that he picked up his club and grimaced menacingly. It was then that Nissa weaved an illusion of the giant picking up the boat to move it beyond the rocks. With some helpful encouragement from Darius, the giant swatted the paladin aside, seemingly understanding the predicament he caused. After a minute, the giant waded into the water and hefted the boat up and over the rocks, gently settling it on the other side.



As payment and thank you, Castigen gave the giant a handful of carved hematite, and the giant gave them a tiny silver earring crafted from what appeared to be a real teardrop. It didn't identify as anything magical, but it was very pretty to look at. The party then said their goodbyes and loaded back up. When they reached Gytor, Castigen did warn the townsfolk about the giant, to which one of the river men lamented it happens every winter, and that they'll send some men to pull the stones aside once the giant leaves. Apparently, the giant is mostly harmless so long as no one messes with his stones while he throws them.



A few days later, the party reached Shyta-Thybaj. Months later than intended, unfortunately, leaving them precious little time to get matters sorted out. They found lodging and set about to their goals quickly. Terza offered up her aid, if possible and went to speak with the Alliance guild, while Darius went to speak with Zak'hara, the Guardian of Shyta-Thybaj. His Hall was impressive, spanning many years defending the city from giants and other monstrous invaders. Zak'hara was more than willing to lend his aid to the cause, especially when hearing the warlord was a scion of the Overlord. Being that he was also a Dothoki, Zak'hara would get them a meeting with the Shadojy, Darkary II. Convincing him may be difficult without a lot of evidence, but a threat of that significance already within his border is something he could not ignore.



In the meantime, Castigen sought out the Huntmaster of the Patient Arrow, based on Parn's recommendation. He hoped the priest would be willing to regenerate his and Darius' lost eyes. Along the way to the temple, they passed a young man, maybe about 15 summers, just standing in a field with a drawn bow. He had one arrow and nothing else with him. Castigen paid him little mind and went to speak with the high priest. The acolytes at the church informed Castigen that the Huntmaster was out on a hunt and would return in a few short days. They would send word when he was available to meet.



During the downtime, Nissa and Ngithol spent every waking hour researching at the library. They looked up possible ways to destroy the strange spell-book-amulet that housed Tyman, finding rumor of a red dragon roosted atop one of the taller peaks in the Byth Mountains. If they could negotiate with the dragon, they could maybe succeed where Tyman failed. Also, and more pressing, was some obscure facts on the ritual No'vei used to make himself immortal. If they could find a way to annul the marriage, they could break the pact. Either through Chada's willingness or by getting a Pure One to annul it based on what No'vei had done. Unfortunately, finding a priest of that power was going to be a challenge, likely sending them to Renaaria. Time was going to be against them, but not an impossible task.



When they finally met with the Shadojy, he was, as Zak'hara assumed, not fully convinced of this new threat. And he had also committed to sending soldiers to Tharggy to aid in defense against Dodera this spring. However, if No'vei was a true danger, there wouldn't be a Thybaj to send aid. Reluctantly, and after much delegation, they agreed to send scouts to the south and begin amassing the army for march. since little to no word had come up from Narr-Rytarr, they were concerned about some possible issues happening in the southern city. Castigen wisely suggested they seek confirmation from the elves of the Fyban, as they pledged their aid, too. With that matter finished, the party then set out to speak with the Huntmaster.



Castigen was surprised to find the Huntmaster was none other than the young boy standing in the field. His patience this week earned him a clean, one-shot kill of a hippogriff that had been harassing a farmer's pigs. It only took four days of vigilance before it flew into his trap. Huntmaster Syjem listened to their story and the request for regeneration. He agreed to perform the spell if they would aid his church in a most dire manner. With his ascension to Huntmaster, the church has split. A rogue group is making moves to usurp him and kill off those they believe as heretics. If the party would put an end to this schism quietly, he would both heal their wounds and pledge his clerics to their battle against No'vei and his army. It was an easy choice for Castigen, and Darius wasn't far behind. They agreed, perhaps too quickly. Syjem offered to heal them first, but neither wanted to be too fully indebted, just in case something wasn't right. The Huntmaster provided the party with a scout to take them where the heretics were holed up and the party set out to deal with the insurrection...

Session: Game Session 30 - Saturday, Jun 27 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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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 - Saturday, Jun 13 2015 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
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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 - Saturday, May 30 2015 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
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Tags: Level Up , Recap , Sarr
Epic!
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 - Saturday, May 09 2015 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
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Tags: Dagon , Level Up , Recap , Sarr , Tharggy
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