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Session Three: In The Dungeons of the Sa Karan
Anssi, Ivan, Thom, and I were riding, and riding, and riding, going along the stream that led to the cave, tiring, and we saw (well, Ivan and Anssi didn't) four horses through the trees, all emblazoned with the red letters S.R. I knew at once they were the Scarlet Riders' horses, but the others, who can be a bit stupid sometimes, thought it meant Senior.
"You idiots!" I hissed. "Of course there aren't four horses named Senior here on that tree for no reason. If we continue a little bit further, I bet we'll find the entrance to the ruins."
They came around, Ivan chortling about the 'Senior' thing, and just as I said, we found the overgrown cave, and as Emil said, looking back we could in the distance see the glowing lights of King's Port.
"Well, let's enter," I said, though to be perfectly honest, I'd been hoping we might be able to get to Trabyan before we had to enter the cave.
We entered, Thom holding a torch 3rd, Ivan rear guard, and Anssi first with Blueberry, his wolf companion. It was a steep and dark downward descent, and a few times, one of us had to grab hold of another in our party in order to not fall down.
Eventually, the path leveled and we were in a worked stone hall that was certainly not dwarven make.
Fifteen feet ahead of us, the hall T'd off, to our left, there was a pit trap and a long-ago broken portcullis, to our right, a short hall that turned left, previously blocked by another portcullis.
"We should go left," Thom said, while Ivan argued "To the right."
I flipped a coin, so we went right, turned, and looked upon three recently slain bodies.
"Oh, great," I sighed, looking over the bodies as Anssi pointed out scratched in a wall. Tallies rather
"What are they?" Ivan asked, looking at the froglike bodies on the floor.
"They are Cave Gnashers. I've fought a few, and they are horrible. They're a race of frog people that live in water," I replied, gesturing at the stream ten feet away, basically a dead end. "They prefer to ambush-" I started to continue, but rose, yelling, as five large cave gnashers sprang up, out of the water.
Two landed behind me, attacking Anssi and Blueberry, while one, to its misfortune, found the waiting blade of Thomdril's axe. Another stabbed at Ivan, and the last made a fruitless attempt at robbing me of my life, which I parried.
"An Caradhuinh deliam! An Caradhuinh cuilam!" I roared, turning and charging the two on Anssi, bringing my tarj on one's head, while my claymore sliced the other cave gnasher clean in twain, before spinning and catching two blows from the first cave gnasher as I charged back at it.
Thom chopped his greataxe down at the frog-man facing down Ivan, but missed, so Ivan stabbed his bayonet into the fleshy underside of the creature's chin, letting loose a gunshot as he did so(such inelegant things, don't you agree) just for the fun of it.
Blueberry charged, snapping at my gnasher but missing as Anssi shot an arrow at the cave gnasher. The arrow hit its side, but the thing appeared not to feel it.
I flipped my eyepatch up, revealing the hole where my eye should have been, grinning ferally, then with a cry of "An Caradhuinh Eluviel!" I cut my claymore deep into its chest, Dragon Isles-man kicked it back towards the water, then, while it was teetering on the edge of the stonework, hurled my sgian dubh from underneath my shield into the creature's heart.
"Hey, can I read your feet, Anssi?" Thomdril asked casually, and, while I left back the way we'd come and Ivan searched the bodies and 'accidentally' elbowed Thomdril in the face, Thom read Anssi's feet.
Eventually, when I called for them enough, the other three joined me by the pit.
"Okay, this should be really easy," I said to my compatriots. "On three, I jump, then Ivan throws Thom, then Ivan goes, then Anssi."
My friends(though I hesitate to call such strangers friends, all nodded in agreement.
"One, two, THREE!"
We all made it easily across, and saw, five feet ahead and to our right, a opening, once guarded by large double doors. I was standing back barely peering into the tunnel, Ivan was up in front looking, and Thomdril and Anssi were jostling for position ahead of me.
"The spiders nested here," Ivan said, looking into the tunnel, which, now that it was illuminated, we could see was a steep downward slope, but everything was covered in chitinous tunnels. It was like a leaning, upside down tree under the earth(the main tunnel was the trunk), except the tree was gone, and the tunnels of chitin were where its roots had lain.
Suddenly, I remembered. I had read about this from the books at King's Port's public library. During the time of the Scourge, giant spiders, attracted to sources of magic, had nested in Sa Karan ruins, and this was a perfectly preserved example of what they looked like.
"We should go down. Trabyan's probably there," Ivan said.
"Yes, but that's steep, and I don't have rope, do you?" I asked.
"I can climb," offered up Thomdril.
"Yes, but what about the rest of us? Do you think we can climb down? And besides, even if the rest of us don't go down there, how are you to get light down?"
"Er, I think we should continue on. There's a hallway that goes on and bends out of site," Anssi chipped in unexpectedly.
Leading Thom and Ivan by their hair, we got to the bend. The hallway continued just to the edge of our vision, where it looked like it expanded. Ten feet ahead and to the left was a portcullis that was still functional, and beyond it, presumably another room we couldn't see.
We convinced Anssi to go first, which he did, without blueberry, walking semi-confidently towards the portcullis, but almost immediately, he groaned in pain, falling into the portcullis.
"What happened?" we asked.
"I-I dunno," Anssi replied.
Dubiously, I walked the same path he had, and a great pain filled me, making my head feel like it was being split in two.
"Well, its definitely the hallway, not just you," I commented to Anssi, shaking off the pain, just as Thomdril said, pointing to the floor "Look at the stones!"
Looking, I saw what Thomdril meant. Little glowing rocks were embedded in the hallway, pulsating with a strange white light.
"Well, you can climb, can't you?" I demanded of him "You had better give Ivan the torch, though."
Thomdril started to climb like an expert, but immediately, Ivan followed suit, climbing the walls without his hands, putting the torch between his teeth like I've seen Kosan pirates do with daggers.
"Well, the light's ahead of us, we'd better catch up," I said to Anssi, and we started to climb the walls, too.
Twenty feet to where Thom and Ivan had gotten off of the wall, Anssi, who didn't notice that I was straining to grab a handhold particularly far away, moved his foot right onto mine, and we both fell backward off the wall.
I cracked my head on the hard stone of the floor, but immediately rose and proffered my hand to Anssi, who was still groaning on the floor.
"Well, let's go before we get hit again," I said to Anssi, and we both sprinted to the end of the hallway.
As we got to where the torchlight was, Ivan commented "This is where we fight the big bad evil guy. I'm excited."
It did indeed look like a place where we would fight a huge monster. The room was wide and grand, supported by columns of white marble, but still oppressive. Just in front of a set of five stone steps were three scarlet riders, lying motionless beside two gigantic, three legged, chitinous monsters, who were also dead. One of the monster's legs was stuck through one of the pillars, and the other had destroyed the pillar opposite with its weight.
I scanned the room fruitlessly for the forth Scarlet Rider, hopefully Trabyan, but Ivan interrupted me with a breathless "Look!"
I looked, and saw, set in the wall above the steps, a blood-red gem, at once more beautiful and more dangerous than anything I had ever seen before, pulsating softly with a light of its own.

We had found a famed Sa Karan Bloodstone.
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Second Session: The Letter
We were riding on our horses down the path to Griffyn Rock, Rory was holding a torch at the back of our chain, and Thomdril heard barking and muted voices shouting.
"Voices, and they're not mine!" he whispered, almost as loud as the noise we noticed once he pointed it out.
"We should be careful. I doubt the Scarlet Riders have dogs," Rory replied.
I rolled my eyes, and said "Okay. Rory, you and I go ahead and scout, Anssi, Thomdril, Sirin, you should stay with the horses. We'll shout if we hear noise."
Rory and I continued on. The lout refused letting us split up, instead starting an argument with me, and causing us to be loud. Just as we rounded a bend in the path, we saw them.
Three normal-sized orcs and a fourth, big as a troll were shouting and dancing around two tied and struggling forms. One of them was straining to hold back two enormous wolves.
They turned and saw us just as we got a glimpse of them and all but the orc with the wolves, who had started cutting at the rope tied to their collars, charged.
I leapt to the side, rolling behind a large bush, whispering "I'll free the captives!" just before Rory sprinted the other way around a tree. The orc chief charged at our Red Knight as the rest of the orcs and the wolves ran towards Thomdril and Sirin, who had heard the noise and left our horses with Anssi.
Thomdril charged at the chief and got right next to Rory, who swung his short-sword at the orc, but missed as Sirin walked calmly towards the orcs and wolves, who were bottled up by two trees and some boulders.
I leaped to my feet, surprising the orcs as I shouted "Uilach onorim huakak cha!" and at once, many streams of fire spun from my fingers, annihilating two orcs and a wolf, injuring the other wolf, and almost killing the orc chieftain.
The chieftain bellowed, scaring Rory, then swung his axe at both the Red Knight and at Thom. He hit Rory, but didn't hurt him much, and missed Thom. The remaining wolf howled at the moon, while its handler, who had been lucky enough to be out of the fire charged up to Sirin as Sirin missed the baying wolf by a centimeter.
Rory stared at the shallow gash in his side as Thom struck, but didn't injure the orc chieftain. I moved behind a large rock just behind the flaming bush, then jumped out when the orc and wolf weren't paying attention. Once more, flames blasted my enemies, and once more, they were reduced to cinders.
Rory, the orc, and Thomdril traded blows. I charged in, but couldn't penetrate the chief's plate armor.
"Get out!" Thom squeaked, getting a lucky strike in with his axe.
Sirin walked quickly to the gagged bodies, while Thom, Rory, and I looted the bodies. It turned out the people were the prospectors who had disappeared the other day. We gave them some of the orc's weapons, and as they left, started investigating the tent Thom had just glimpsed a fair distance off in the trees.
I left to change, and on the way, spotted a yellow-ish something on the ground. I had no doubt it was the letter.
I changed, then lit a torch to make sure the seal was alright, for I was out of the fire's light at that point, and could barely see my own fingers.
Just as I was about to stop the torch and return to give Rory back the letter, I heard a very loud burp from behind me.
I turned around and held out the letter to Rory, saying "You dropped this while you were fighting."
"Right," he scoffed. "I should take off your hands for stealing this, I should."
He was about to take my hands off, so I unslung my shield from my back, but Thom grabbed Rory's hands. Sirin was standing five feet away, looking thoughtful.
"Wait," I asked incredulously. "I give you something you dropped, and you try to take my hands off?"
"If you are innocent, why were you sneaking off into the woods?" he replied hotly.
"I wanted to change into my good clothes, and I didn't want to do it around Sirin. I walked towards this pile, and found the letter on the ground by where the orc chieftain fought you, so I picked it up, changed, and lit this torch to see if the wax was broken, and also, to put my clothes on, you idiot!" I almost shouted.
"I think you were stealing the letter so you could look inside of it," he shouted.
"You idiot!" I yelled. "If I had wanted to open this letter, I would have done it while walking, so I could get back to camp before you, and I would have used one of Anssi's arrows, then thrown it away before entering camp again after you'd left! And besides," I said, calming down slightly. "Look at the seal. Do you call that broken Thom? Do you, Sirin?"
"Look at this!" Rory cried. "Normal wax doesn't get in between the parchment! you must have opened it and resealed it!"
"First of all I didn't," I replied exasperatedly. "And second, should we open it? For all we know, it could say to kill the bearer."
"Okay, Imma cut your hands off!" he said, shaking himself free of Thom's grasp as I backed up.
"Stop!" Sirin said calmly. "Rory, you've no proof that Tirondel did steal the letter, or that he's opened it. Also, Solace will do as he sees fit. If Solace wants Tirondel dead, Solace will MAKE Tirondel dead."
"But look!" Rory said angrily, holding the letter up to the torchlight from the torch in Thom's hands. "I think I can see the word 'kill' and just after that 'barrow'."
Thom left, and so did Rory, soon after giving Sirin the letter to examine.
Sirin stayed, and as he approached, I grabbed the letter.
"Look," he said. "You can give that to me. Maybe later I'll open it, and if I do, I'll tell you what it says. Then Rory isn't angry and we can more easily settle the matter of your hands."
"No," I replied. "I know it might be important, but, as I said earlier, we can't open it. Letters are hard to seal with a proper candle and a seal. I should know, I was a noble. But if Thom and Rory agree I'll give you the letter for safekeeping."
We left, and Thom agreed, but there was still the matter of Rory.
"I still think I should chop your hands off," he said unhappily.
"Look," Sirin replied. "We can tell Trabyan about it, and he'll settle this for us, or we can go to an official court once we get back to King's Port."
"Yes, that's fine!" Rory and I replied at the same time, though Rory still sounded exasperated.
We have started what is hopefully our last stretch of riding until we get to the Scarlet Riders, so I am not going to continue writing until later.
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