Unfolding the Shroud of Secrets
29th Session

The Party, saddened by Althaea’s decision to remain behind, was confronted by a worrisome sight: The northern hill of Trodgaf was alight with torches and a progression of orcs were marching towards Clan Kjus’ home. Glinish and Dulkan raced ahead to observe the group and head to the village before the orcs.

In the end, the progression was a small but serious group of greenskins, informing the villagers that Alahkoralithis, the dragon master of the orcs, demanded to know who killed their sentries in the tower. Dulkan, with his intense dislike of the beings, suggested the clan chiefs to inform the orcs that the party was heading to the western mountains, hoping that the griffins would kill the group. The gambit worked and the orcs left. The Party, not wanting to leave the village to suffer the consequences of their quest, decided to remain behind and observe the situation.

The next day, 21st of Shedding, the Party had discovered that the group of orcs had indeed been slain by the griffins; A reminder of the creatures’ fierce nature. They also had learned via a clandestine scouting trip, that the orcs were not massing to attack, but their stronghold was, in fact, a dragon’s citadel. They returned to the village to inform the clans that the orcs were not the threat; The dragon was. Knowing their vengeful nature, the Party suggested that the clans move south, where they could also find Adalrik’s Paradise, a haven for at least some.

As the village started packing, dejected, the Party also left back towards the Huntress. The journey took two days, which were filled mostly with travel and extrapolating the items they had collected. The first one they attempted was the fragment left in Khariss’ heart. The Extrapolator drew into the air a vision of a beautiful and terrifying glaive, gleaming gold and silver, blade impossibly sharp. The glaive was currently in a barrel filled with other impressively crafted weapons in various stages of disrepair. But there was a single dwarvish rune present in both the glaive and the tools on the barrel: Umura. Despite Dulkan’s knowledge of dwarvish clans in and out of Kolmhaag, the name eluded him. Regardless, now they had a name.

The next day they extrapolated another object: The hand Borel had found. It proved problematic for the divination device: It showed simultaneously a rotting hand that it was, a rotting yet walking corpse of Ixthoth, and also a golden chalice, encased in a lead box, shifting between the images, as if it couldn’t decide what the real rotting hand was. The information did not show anything helpful, except the nature of the phylactery of the Lich.

The arrival to Fargrave was also uneventful, and the Party was reunited with the Huntress and her crew. On the ship, as the Party was planning their next destination, Glinish sent a message to Thivaraxia, informing that they had found out a detail about hte Dragonslayer. Her answer was brief: She congratulated them and told them that she had something for them.

On the week-long voyage the Party extrapolated the rest of their intriguing items: The broken object held by the dwarf in the Hydra’s lair and the flying cloak. The object was a strange, round, book-like map, pointing out several points on the Realm… And other places. The cloak, however, proved to be a part of a huge, hollow bird-like machine, along with a ring they had found and the large fan. Drawing blueprints of the device, the wizards in Assarna could now construct it! With the rest of the time the Party attempted to extrapolate on Edessa, but she was still on the other side of the Void.

On the 30th of Shedding, the Huntress landed in Bowmeet. After a quick chat with the harbormaster they found out that the Patron of Shadow was slowly but surely taking over the city with the people’s support. Not wanting to interfere further with the politics, the Party headed directly for Thivaraxia’s lair. Inside, Thivaraxia received the party, pleased with their progress. She told them that she had discovered the existence of a magical object, used in the Age of War to attack the daemons: The Cubic Gate. One had survived the time, ending up in the dragon Karanox’s hoard. Daunted with the prospect of having to request or steal the Cubic Gate from Karanox, Thivaraxia offered her aid… Provided the Party find Umura and ask them about their involvement with the Dragonslayer.

Dulkan and Carric asked Thivaraxia with one more favour: They had one scroll with a messaging spell powerful enough to cross the boundaries of the planes written on it, and they required the assistance of a wizard to help Dulkan cast it. The dragon gave them access to one serving her, and so the party found themselves in a damp, improvised wizard laboratory, where one slightly unhappy arcanist was waiting. The process of learning to cast just the one spell took the entire evening, and finally Dulkan unleashed the magical energies from the words in the parchment. They proved too much, and the spell was miscast. Instead of sending his message to Edessa, he heard her thoughts for a brief moment:

…I hope he knows what he is doing, the distance is too far… Wait, that’s weird. Almost like… magic? But I’m not casting anything right…

The Extrapolator
28th Session

After dealing with the golems, the Party again gathered and decided to examine the rest of the smaller towers. One was an impressive water tower, providing a pool and a shower. The other one was a divining tower, containing little mementos and fragments of objects… and people. On the top of the divining tower was a lantern-like, magical object.

This object was their goal: Adalrik’s greatest creation, the Extrapolator. The object’s name and function the party’s Arcane masters discovered from testing and the main tower, which they explored the following day. The Extrapolator was the pinnacle of Adalrik’s research into the nature of divination: It could extrapolate the true nature of objects, what “group” they belonged in and what the group’s current status was.

By feeding the lantern Edessa’s mementos that Dulkan had brought with him, the Party hoped to gain knowledge in where she was. The Extrapolator worked, displaying Edessa based on her lucky coin and dagger… but as they attempted to infer her status, the device fizzled. The only explanation was that she was beyond the barriers that separate the planes from each other. While this news was disheartening, the party could rest easy with the Daemon situation: If Edessa was in another plane, she wasn’t constructing their portal.

Along with information about the device, Adalrik’s main tower provided some useful potions, scrolls and other insight, which the party loaded themselves up with as much as possible. Adalrik, ever the foreseer, had written a helpful note to anyone intruding in his tower, beseeching any visitors to not defile the place and leave his servants alone. After gaining everything they needed, and dispelling the enchantment hounding Glinish along the way, Carric and Althaea decided to leave and not disturb the wondrous paradise any further. But as soon as they were leaving, Borel spotted a little creature attempting to hide from the Party: Adalrik’s homekeeper, a homonculus. Enraged by the defences of the lair, Borel interrogated the creature. Despite Althaea’s and Carric’s protestations, and the sorry nature of the being, he ripped it apart, killing the last remaining keeper of Adalrik’s home. No longer would the main tower have a tireless servant keeping it spotless and in order; Nature would overtake the hidden paradise, burying all the collected lore and history below a layer of leaves and critters.

…at least that was what Althaea could foresee. The sadness of the loss of this beautiful, magical place was too palpable. Feeling guilty about Borel’s act of cruelty, Althaea decided to stay in the Paradise, learning all she could about the place and capture its essence into memory and music. After a heartfelt goodbye, the rest of the Party continued on, saddened but steadfast.

But now, 20th of Shedding after a day’s worth of exploring, reading and divining, the Party was again back on track, with the Extrapolator in tow. With Carric’s plan to charge it with Adalrik’s staff, they could divine the nature of many of the objects they had collected during their travels: The hand Borel had discovered with divine guidance from the Murder Grass. The wings and fan they had discovered. The fragment of the blade they had found in Khariss’ heart. Other options were to check on the wizards now living in Assarna, and even asking whether Thivaraxia’s inquiries had borne fruit.

But first, the journey back to civilization…

Adalrik's Paradise
27th Session

The morning of 19th of Shedding was an exciting moment for the entire Party. Everyone gathered to the Wishing Well of Trodgaf, having first lit the signal fires. As they approached, the first thing they saw was Sander, eagerly pointing southwards, where a fourth fire was lit. This was the sign they were waiting, so the Party started towards the fourth fire.

After a difficult journey through the woods, along which the Party had had to abandon their wagon, they arrived to a mountain climb. The light was coming from an arrangement of lenses and an illusionary arcane light. Beyond the curious signal was a further path to something magical…

Five elegant, organically grown elven trees, planted in a huge hedge maze, on top of a large, round clifftop. All overgrown and full of birds, insects and small critters, earthy aroma of fruit and leaves spreading in the air. Adalrik’s Paradise, his lair.

With Carric’s lead the Party headed into the maze. After a moment’s wandering, they ended up in one of the four smaller tree-towers. Carric disabled the arcane locks with his magic and discovered an art gallery. Displayed were amateur paintings, signed “M” that told a tale of a human woman, painting the solitude of Adalrik’s Paradise and the love between them. At the top was a platform and a vine rope, connecting the tower to the center one. The gallery tree was dilapidated and full of signs of animal life.

Dulkan, with help from Carric’s spells, climed to the big tree and painstakingly mapped the maze out from his vantage point. With this information, the Party headed to another smaller tree. Again they disarmed the locks, but this time they faced an added protection: A magic glyph activated when Glinish stepped inside, instilling a command to him: Bring a Purple Lotus here, or die. Not willing to die, the ranger headed out to find the rare plant from the maze. The rest headed inside, carefully. This tower was a home at some point, possibly belonging to the painter, the mysterious “M”. Carric and Borel broke into a locked room, later revealed to be her bedroom. Here Carric, using his magic vision, spotted another glyph. Seeing no way to pass it, he decided to brave it. The glyph triggered, and a voice commanded Carric to find a pink diamond and bring it to the bedroom… or die.

Braving the spell, Carric attempted to dispel the spell. The dispel worked, but not before the command nearly killed him. During their investigations, the guardians of the place finally located the Party. Two massive golems, made from stone and clay, attacked them. After a short but furious battle, Borel and Dulkan were in bad shape and both spellcasters were running out of spells. But finally, they had defeated all the guardians of Adalrik’s Paradise, and were ready to explore the rest of the amazing garden…

Hail to the King!
26th Session

Fog rolled in Trodgaf the following day 18th of Shedding, an omen of things to come. As the last tower on their list was the one occupied by griffins, the Party split in two: Sunder and Carric remained by the well in the village ruins, ready to observe the horizon as the flames were lit. The rest left to the Western tower. Before they left, Althaea spoke with the severed orc head. The head was not very forthcoming, but they did learn one thing: Alahkoralithis, a young white Dragon was controlling them.

The ascent to the signal tower was fearful: Borel’s attempted infiltration was spotted by the keen-eyed sentinel griffin, and the following situation escalated into violence. As the sentinel grabbed the warrior, the rest of the Party attacked it, prompting the creature to drop him. Not willing to plummet to his death, Borel held on and managed to land more or less safely to the top. As Dulkan raced up, Althaea revealed that her musical aptitude had pierced the veil of space: She teleported herself and Glinish to the top to aid their friend. Glinish, using her own magical talents, warned the griffin to cease hostilities. But Borel’s rage made it difficult, and only Althaea’s voice managed to calm him down, just before more griffins arrived.

Taking cover inside the tower allowed the Party to finally negotiate with the flying lion-eagles. Piecing together from their speech, the griffins had lost the mark of their King: An apparently talking crown. It was lost in a place they called Murder Grass, where occasionally some griffins left to quest for it. Only some returned. Softer hearts prevailed, and the Party agreed to search for the crown, provided they allowed them to clear the top of the tower, which had apparently been the nest of the King.

After beholding the map of the Murder Grass the griffins had meticulously created, the Party was flown over the mountains to the East, in a chilly and exhilarating flying journey. Eventually they landed at the edge of a plain next to a river: The Murder Grass. Glinish’ concentrated on the land and sensed the foul stench of the Undead permeating the area.

Borel had an ulterior motive to aid the griffins: He had a mysterious feeling that he would find that which he sought at the what proved to be an ancient battleground. He led the party into the fog, guided by the feeling. Along the way the Party exhumed a half-buried fallen soldier, and with Althaea’s magic learned of the battlefield: The Griffin King, wearing a crown, had been spotted attacking the left flank. The soldier and the King had belonged in the army of a forgotten Dragon against a chilling foe: A Lich.

As the Party neared the place Borel was taking them, the fog became more oppressive, and the ghosts of the ancient battle mixed with its present state. Eventually the Party found the ghostly remains of a command tent, inside of which skeletons and a dark apparition still speculated on the ancient battle plans, overseen by a corpse sitting on a throne. The only real aspect of the corpse was its hand and a ring on its finger.

Grasping the hand was a nearly fatal choice. The undead remnants of the soldiers noticed the Party’s presence and promptly attacked them. The Party dispatched them, but not before the wraith nearly killed Borel with its life-draining energies. The mad dash away from the camp was also a harrying experience, as skeletal horse archers gave chase. But eventually the Party escaped, worn and spent, grasping the hand and the ring, which muttered quiet words: Some sort of task list.

Still, the griffin King’s crown was to be found. The Party explored the battleground and managed to deduce the location of the left flank by listening to an ancient siege engine crew’s ghostly commands from a nearby hill. In the location they found a ghostly griffin with a crown on its head, taking cover from very real arrows occasionally launched from the fog. Pretending to be its reinforcements, the Party attacked the being shooting arrows: An undead commander of some sort. The two sides met in a conflict, echoing the events that unfolded centuries ago. And, like in the past, the living were victorious. The ghost of the griffin King, his ancient enemy slain, finally allowed itself to rest, falling inside a small mound. Inside the Party found the King’s bones, along with a golden crown.

As the Party returned to the tower with their airborne ride, Althaea noticed that as long as she held the crown-like helmet, she could understand and speak the griffins’ cries and keens. With this ability they negotiated the griffins’ a new tradition: The next full highmoon, the one griffin that brought in most dead greenskins to the village of Kjus would be the next King.

The rest of the evening the Party used to recuperate, clear out the signal tower and deliver the crown to the chieftains of Kjus. The next dawn the towers were ready to be lit, and the Party was ready to finally find the path to Adalrik’s lair…

Love in the Air
25th Session

While Borel, Althaea and Sunder were introducing themselves to the Clan Ymgir, Dulkan, Glinish and Carric scouted out the northern signal tower. Again with Carric’s invisibility spell they ascended the hillside on which the tower lay undetected. There they met a creature with grayish-green skin and big lower canines, bursting through the lip… an orc. A sentry, leisurely scanning the southern treeline. Dulkan, owing to his upbringing in Kolmhaag, disliked the creature and gave permission for Glinish to kill it. Two arrows to the throat ended its life, allowing the group passage into the tower’s yard.

Standing on top of the hill, the party saw a small, hidden campsite with the rest of the tower’s four lookouts, and a more sobering sight: A large settlement, just a short jaunt away from the hill, home to maybe hundreds of orcs. Still, now committed to clearing the area, Carric took Adalrik’s Protector and unleashed a torrent of cold on the unsuspecting orcs, freezing them solid. With the sentries dead, the tower was theirs… for the moment. The inside of the tower was well-kept, stocked with fuel. Deciding against lighting the fire, the group merely loaded the fuel, ready to be lit on a moment’s notice. They also took one orc’s head to be interrogated by Althaea and her ability to get the dead to sing.

Meanwhile, Borel heard the call of his inner wolf. Wishing to incorporate the spirit of wolf in his totem, he left to find a wolf pack. Maybe with his tracking skills, maybe under the call of a wolf spirit, he found a pack whose Alpha he challenged and won. After running with the wolves, he found a huge dire wolf, living alone. He attacked and slew the creature, taking a trophy of it with him.

The next day, 17th of Shedding Clan Ymgir headed to Kjus’ village in the crack of dawn, annoying the other clan with their early arrival. Now gathered together, apart from Glinish who elected to remain at the tower, the Party prepared to ensure the blessing ceremony’s smooth progression.

From problem to problem they sailed, putting out fires as they arose. When the clans met, Isadra from clan Kjus was attempting to get Hurna, a hunter from Ymgir to give up his weapons for the ceremony. Carric and Borel diffused the situation with an apt argument: What would Hurna do with his tools? Next the clan chiefs were arguing about the early arrival. As luck would have it, Borel had a bottle of wine from his earlier adventures, and he shared it with the chieftains. As he left, a wave of shock and fear went through the participants: Clan Ymgir’s craftsman, a Tiefling by the name of Hawk had appeared. His demonic looks drew suspicion and fear from the others. Fortunately, Carric had seen tieflings before, so he introduced himself to Hawk and Hawk to the others, defusing the tension somewhat.

When the ceremonies started, Borel had given his golden chain, originally from Khariss’ hoard, to the chieftains as a gift to the child. As the chain was obscenely valuable, the chiefs decided not to open their own gifts right then. Soon, however, the star of the party, Hilde, had remained in her yurt, feeling the pressure of the event. Althaea, however, had a plan. She magically disguised Borel as Hilde’s father and used him to get to her yurt. When she got close to the poor nervous wreck, she sang and emboldening melody, pushing the fear away from Hilde’s mind and giving her courage in this glorious day.

Outside, Tissu, a halfling girl, was up to mischief. Borel found her crafting a mask of Hawk to scare some partygoers. The barbarian found this funny, however, and let the girl go. Very soon the Kjus’ smith was storming to Hawk, angrily claiming that he had attempted to steal his soul. As things nearly spiraled out of control, Althaea again cast a spell, mesmerizing the aggressors in a show of flashing magical colours.

Then began the last part of the ceremony: A feast. Thistle, Ymgir’s bard, started the feast with a song, biased towards the clan’s achievements. Sensing the others’ difficulties, Althaea joined in the chorus, forcing Thistle to improvise. To her amazement, the dragonborn bard handled it well, managing to annoy the Kjus’ people, but at least Althaea prevented a full-on fight.

Carric, seeing the children of Kjus bothering Hawk, decided to join the tiefling. He had been asking about the reason why the man didn’t drink anything, and the answer was that he was an angry drunk. Fearing that the children would push him, Carric invited Hawk to bond with him, safely out of town. Meanwhile, Borel had been keeping an eye on Tissu, who was now trying to sneak something extra in the food of one of the guests. He caught the sneak and demanded to know what she was planning. Tissu’s vocal protests drew many curious and concerned gazes, which Borel quickly placated by pretending to give a ride to the halfling girl through the air. He ran around the partygoers, keeping Tissu high in the air and rolling her until she couldn’t take it anymore. As she wobbled away, Borel confiscated the bottle of hot sauce she was planning to empty in one of the dragonborn’s steak.

And finally, the skies went dark. Carric and Hawk provided improvised fireworks as the folk started passing out around the village in each others’ laps. Shellwhite, tired from her ordeals, thanked the Party and promised her aid in lighting the eastern signal tower. Grateful and satisfied, the Party too decided to rest.

The Rival Clans
24th Session

That evening Glinish returned to the camp, telling that they had met a group of people, the Clan Kjus, who offered the Party a place to sleep. Still puzzling over the solution to their body swap problem, Carric, Althaea, Dulkan and Sunder preferred to remain and try out the solution before encountering and confusing new people.

The next day, 16th of Shedding, Dulkan had an answer, but it required the full party to perform. So they left towards the village, where they met Borel, hard at work. He explained the situation to them: The children of the chieftains of two clans, Kjus and Ymgir, had secretly met and were with a child. The clans were mired in a decades old rivalry, which made the situation precarious. Whitescale, Kjus’ shamaness, warned them that should the child be born into an air of hostility and rivalry, the ancestors of Trodgaf valley would anger. Therefore, they would need a ceremony of blessing to unify the two clans.

Since the shamaness trusted no-one to remain objective in the case of crisis, she beseeched Borel to help ensure that the blessing ceremony would go smoothly. Borel accepted, partly because of his eagerness to do good and partly because the celebrations would end in the lighting of the “Ancestor’s Tower”, one of the three signal fires.

So Borel had spent his time disarming the clan’s pranksters’ prank and easing the townsfolk’s concerns. Now, with Althaea’s wisdom and Sunder’s knowledge, he travelled to the Ymgir’s camp, while the others headed towards the North Tower, which was apparently captured long ago by the greenskin tribes of the north.

The Ymgir were hunters, and their mobile camp reflected that. The chief of the clan revealed to be as stubborn as his neighbor, and their planned gift outshone the Kjus’. Enjoying their hospitality, Borel, Althaea and Sunder retreated to a tent to plan how to use their limited time to defuse any problems before they had a chance to blossom…

Borel's untold story

After Carric wakes up and banishes me for bringing evil upon this forsaken land, I head back to the nearest inn to wash away my thought as always. Ordered moonshine in honor of a peasant friend, forgotten name and face. After a bottle or two things become more interesting, regret fades away. Fuck Carric and his stupid magic, he is also responsible for this mess. Nonetheless, a stranger waves and gets closer. Admirers always welcomed, if woman better. This one is a man though, may ask me-self about brawling adventures or gamble. Isn’t that the –mighty- Borel, yeah yeah; this round I pay, cool let’s drink more..
“I know your inner persona Borel, you are a seeker. Just like me. You see, our lord set us both in this path for a reason. I realized you are worshiping Ocrana when i noticed your consistent self inflicted wounds. We can continue our discussion in a more appropriate place. Like an attic or a barn.”
“How about both my friend?”
Less than an hour later, we are sitting on hay and me trying to understand this new companion i have. This guy called Sagan, tall, thin and manipulator type of looking but not sneaky and cowardly like the halfman once i met. Told his story, where he was from and his career as a sell sword.
“We will start a journey my friend, to seek what we are looking for.”
“I want to understand.”
We got inside the cellar and i wonder why cellars and attics in this quest. Soon after we found a cleric covered in black robe and red lines. I asked him how can i see what is not seen by my own eyes. He said “sacrifice” in a persuasive voice. Starts to explain:
“Sacrifice is the most common way of connecting the divine beings. It is almost practiced by every old and new religion and Ocrana loves the blood to be spilled for his name. That’s why self inflicted wounds carries a big weight in disciples and worshippers of Ocrana. However what you seek is extraordinary than a simple farmer having a bar fight. How much are you willing to put for your question. There is a concept “Trident of Affliction” in our secret society. A man must give up 3 earthly interest to have wisdom. One for flesh, one for pride and one for mind. When we all born, we born as a whole and “pure” in a way. Those wounds will eradicate your pompous self image thus you will understand you a nothing but a pawn in Gods’ big game. Go now travelers my work is done here.”
“But how do we understand which sacrifice is needed and h-“
“You will my child.”
And he leaves the room for us. There was nothing to do so we get back to streets. It was all confusing yet some sparkling ideas were there to grasp. We went through what we have learnt here and make a plan to get out of this cursed rock as soon as possibe.
For next day i had a genious idea of setting sail of this place, since it is a must for my quest why should i not recruit men to form a new company. We went to inn, found drunk and brave man for journey and made promises. In the morning Sagan showed our new ship “Antoine” and interesting enough all the men were ready.
First few days were quite and calm, weather had mercy on us. But now i understand, it was only an illusion not to scare off the hunt. We were talking with crew and especially my new brother Sagan. He had a lot of bloody adventures, his passion for gold and glory made him excel at killing. Oh boy he loved killing. But that was later. An idea strucked my head one of our talking sessions. The thing was, I wanted to see what i could not by my own eyes. How could a necromancer lives in a doll like that, and what could it be his horuxces on this earth so that i can destroy it and slay this abominational sin. EYES and SEEing.. I get up to grab my thrustworthy blade and go outside my chamber. Lay down on my knees and start to chant, slowly first then loud and louder. “ONY-ENAHA DID-E-CHAM, NAMACHOKA YHKTZM!". Chanting the words of grotesque abyss lured the crew as sheep to the slaugher house, fire on the candles tried to prolong their existance in an futile attempt. Crew whispered with horror and paranoia.
“What he is going to do?”
“He is summoning demons into our world.”
“We are doomed.”
“Ma mum begged me not to joined this journey.”
Sharpened blade in my hand, found its way to salvation, pain was immense yet we fear nothing but the fear itself, eye becomes a gash like the abyss we shall depart when we die.
Following day, crew was as usual and we did not discussed about anything what happened to me(us) at that night. Sagan approached me after.
“I am proud of myself to be a brothers-in-arms Borel, what you did yesterday was strength and courage. I wish i will find my own way one day.”
Later i gathered the crew to discuss our plan of the quest. “There is a mining village about couple of hours of marching far at Dragon Edge Peninsular, thats where we are going to raid, brothers. Sharpen your blades and drink your rum, to nite is the start our infamous adventures. Mothers shall tell our stories to the children that don’t sleep, men will gather around local inn pray their false gods to let the winds favor other shores. We shall be the boogeymen of the wildest dreams, huhauhaahah!!”
It was dry and cloud night when we land. Ordered 2 of my boys to stay on guard at the ship. Then we started rowing, then marching began. No wind was blowing, we had no torch to light our way, only darkness. Told them the village lies ahead, and i’ll go alone to kill the guards, wait my signal.
Two guards, one old and infirm one youngling, eye gash echoed into itself when the blood been spilled. It was only the beginning. Lit a torch for slaughter. Every man has a beast in his mind, ready to prowl on the weak when he got a sword in his hand. I let the beast free, we became more (or less) than a man. Women and children scream to have mercy yet the Blood God acknowledges only the strength. Room by room blood had been shed for the glory of the Blood God, why they were asking before they departure from their body. Why in the name of Gods are we killing those innocent people? Sagan on the other hand did not seem to have hesitations at all, that bastard was quite enjoying the scene. Killing innocent and the weak, is this what i became. I was not be the one to have “noble causes” but child blood was something different. I felt like my head was about to explode from this atrocity. My mind could barely handle what was real and what was just an imagination. We returned with our loot to the ship.
Sagan came to me:
“What we did there was astonishingly beautiful my blood brother. This night, together we gained the gratitude of our lord. I am sure he is pleased to see his disciples on his skull throne. You seem troubled though, is there something i can do for you?”
“We pillage the whole village, massacred the men and innocent, i feel like im am not the person i used to be.”
“Well, we are making a progress then, you had created a mental image of yourself just like any of us and now that image is shattering. You are not the image you thought, you are becoming something interesting. That is a blessing of Ocrana, he has seen the potential inside you and you can fulfill yourself by following that steps. Remember what you were looking for, you wanted to see what you cannot. Now you are closer to it even more than ever.”
His words had meanings but i prefer to sleep for now.
Couple of days afterwards were quite similar, first we shared our loot, opened a keg or two of rum to forget and have some good time. Then i started to feel something as if the gash was trying to communicate me. Retreated to my room and opened to prayer book, images of children were still in my head, try to focus. Then check for the maps for our next journey. There it was another peninsular, with a city nearby. I wondered how my old companions doing, how is Dulcan, Carric and Althea? I first thought Dulcan was a spoiled brat became tributary for fame and glory and those little arrogant elves. Well i was wrong, totally, they had proved their worth and i hope i did the same for them. But there it was the peninsular and while i was thinking about it i was having this itch(?). Was it a communication attempt from divines? What am i supposed to do there? There is one way to find out!
“Be here till we return, if not go to Karvak, have a good time there. I’ll send you a raven if needed till then take care blood brothers and stay low.”
We hiked and camped with Sagan in the wilderness. Now that I’m thinking he had known before i did.
“You know where this will end up brother. You are an honorable person and one thing i know for sure is nothing you value more than your companions. Remember the priest, you sacrifice your precious ones. Don’t get me wrong i care about you, you are like an older brother for me but this will end now.”
He kicked me from the back and confiscated my Mountain Carver. “I always wanted to try this baby, well after i kill you i can have some experiments on this.” Took off his bastard sword and i replied with my trusted axe. They all say about how the valiant knights fight in their shiny armor for their honor, but we were not knights and my honor has gone after butchering the village. But killing a brother is something even darker. I had a chance to do so when Dulcan fell in the battle but this time it seemed different. I rushed with fury and start punishing him. Fear was in his eyes and that fear gave me even more confidence, i knew it. Disarmed his sword and threw away mine. Even betrayal will come at my conditions. Punches smashed his skull and soon after he fell. Got my blade and sit onto him.
“You are mine now.”
He smiled.
”I know brother, thank you for letting me understand, i owe you”

Chased by Thunder
23rd Session

A pleasant surprise waited the Party as they left Fargrave on 14th of Shedding: Borel was waiting them outside the city walls! Led there by his own adventure, the champion asked to return to their adventures. Carric, having become regretful for his outburst, welcomed Borel back, as did the rest of the Party. On his travels, Borel had indeed come closer to finding Ixthoth’s phylactery, but for the moment, he was back on the task at hand: Finding Adalrik’s lair.

The idyllic valley of Ambirk passed by as the Party exchanged stories. After travelling most of the day, they came to the Trader’s Fork: The three-way crossing between Ambirk, Fustjurn and Mungraf. There they stocked up on gifts and last-minute purchases and discovered something that proved to be extremely valuable: A huge engraved map on the area, carved into the road crossing. Althaea examined the Trodgaf area very carefully, but age and wear had worn out the details. Remembering Carric’s mending spell, she invited the sorcerer to repair the map. Carric’s sorcery worked, revealing a village in the middle of the valley, along with several towers on the mountaintops around it. After being asked by several shopkeepers, Carric mended the entire map, earning Borel some money and free lodgings in the trading post’s inn.

The next morning, 15th of Shedding, the group left the comforts of soft beds and headed back on the road. Cold drizzle and thunder followed them westward on the increasingly poor-quality trading road. They stopped briefly on the ruins of a village in the middle of Mungraf before continuing forth to the Yorm river.

The bridge across Yorm was broken, with only the support struts sticking out of the water. With Althea’s brief knowledge about carpentry, the group built a floating frame for their wagon from large, solid tree trunks. Meanwhile, Borel and Glinish used their athletic abilities to cross the river and investigated the other side, finding a good spot for landing the wagon and evidence of people possibly patrolling the area. The pair decided to stay on the other side, as the crossing had left Borel wet and freezing.

The next day brought an unwelcome development: A fierce storm was approaching from the east, seemingly pushing the party into the wilds. With some quick thinking and their magical swimming ring, the Party managed to swim the horses to the other side. The wagon had a moment of excitement as they overshot their intended landing point and Dulkan had to brave the cold water to pull the wagon upstream. With straining muscles he go the wagon to the landing just as the storms hit and the wind threatening to ruin their wagon. But with the giant magical fan, Carric beat back the wind for just enough time for the wheels to get traction. Exhausted, the Party rested for a moment and collected themselves.

But they had more day remaining and their equipment weren’t getting any drier. Taking it slowly, they braved the storm and continued on the remains of the road to the supposed village. After meandering along the road, pulling the wagon over large roots and clearing the way, they found the well-worn ruins of an old village… and a well. Built a lot more sleekly than the surrounding remnants of the wall, this was the wishing well the party had been seeking. However, no signal fires were in sight, so their task was still at hand.

Seeing that it was futile to continue searching for the fires, the Party made camp. As night crept closer, the storm passed, inviting the party to gather around a fire to warm themselves. Having nothing better to do, Carric decided to amuse the others by reading passages from a romantic poem collection they had found from the wrecked ship in Gwyn’s forest. For Althaea this was the first time she had heard of such interesting book, so the bard was eager to hear more. As Carric recited a poem about eyes like fields of a star to her, they both felt a strange sort of connection…

Then the poem ended, and Althaea was surprised that it was she who finished reciting it. But it was not her voice. And not her hands that were holding the book. As the sorcerer and the bard looked at each other across the campfire, they realized that the book had swapped their minds! Filled with wonder they examined the unique changes and experimented a bit, with both attempting to cast their own brands of magic, and both failing. So it was their minds, or maybe their souls, that contained Carric’s bubbling source of power and Althaea’s affinity with the Worldly Melody.

But soon Glinish came closer and warned that he saw only problems stemming from this situation and urged them to attempt to reverse the spell. Carric recited another poem at Althaea, now inhabiting his body, but to no avail. As the group pondered, Althaea suggested that maybe the figurative, and in this case literal, climax of the book’s efforts would undo the change. So Glinish dragged the rest to “scout the area”, while Althaea and Carric explored their bodies and gave in to their instincts…

Meanwhile the scouting party discovered something: A light coming from the base of the north-eastern mountains. A quick jaunt around the village confirmed that no other light was shining. Bolstered by this, the group returned to the camp, only to find Althaea and Carric still pondering how to reverse their predicament. Dulkan, having read devious dwarven riddles, joined the conversation between the elves and the half-elf.

Glinish and Borel, bored already of the situation, left for the lights. As the terrain rose, they found a sheltered little sheep pasture, and beyond that someone hiding in a tree. Boldly introducing himself, Borel stepped out. The half-elven lookout on the tree appeared after confirming that the duo weren’t bandits. She apparently knew of three signal towers around the valley when the subject came up. Agreeing to let the pair talk to her clan chief, the lookout took them towards her clan settlement. Maybe there they would find their next lead…

Arrival to Fargrave
22nd Session

The journey back to the Huntress was pleasantly unevenful. On the ship, they consulted their captain Celad, whose sea charts would take them to the city of Fargrave, of the titular Fargrave Peninsula. So anchor aweigh and they were off.

On the 12th of Shedding the Huntress was very close to the port, when a huge storm was about to hit the city. Trusting in their captain, who in turn trusted their ship, the Party decided to continue on their course and attempt to dock before the storm would hit. It was the correct decision. A costly one, but correct.

The Huntress lost her fore sail and collided with the pier, smashing it into pieces and taking damage to her hull. Thanks to Althea’s inspiring presence and Carric’s magics, the crash wasn’t as catastrophic as what it could have been. Still, the Party had arrived on Fargrave.

The city was facing a seasonal torrent, drenching the streets with an ankle-deep flood. The Party sought shelter in a local sailor dive, where all the life had gone. Amidst the loud laughter, fighting and gambling a trader called Galin introduced himself. Seeing opportunity to make profit, the dragonborn decided to act as a guide for the Party, taking them to a classier tavern: The Flameheart. In the round building with an inner, roofed courtyard facing a fire in the middle, the Party rested and talked with the proprietor and their new friend, with Althea making a lasting impression with her songs.

On the next day, Galin showed the Party his wares. Most of it was common trade goods, but his personal collection had some historical relics, along with a magical ring-like object. Althea, feeling her trading instincts flaring up, traded her scale of Khariss, along with a magical recipe for the ring and the relic. Acknowledging the danger involved with handling such a controversial object, Galin took the trade. He then offered a more mundane transaction: He could supply the Party for their journey to Trodgaf, and its wishing well. Carric took the ring and Dulkan got an amazingly crafted spear tip from the Age of War.

Now equipped, the Party was still lacking a clear direction. Having learned something about the dangers outside Mahturak’s influence, such as Remorhazes, greenskins, wild tribes and griffins, Carric wished to learn more. With Galin’s directions he found one of the few scholars of Fargrave, Xaviir. From him they learned some other details: The Peninsula mostly consisted of smaller valleys, each with their own name. In the ancient times the valleys held larger towns and trade roads, but time had not been gracious, and now most of the valleys belonged to the warring barbarian tribes… and monsters. Of the wishing well Adalrik’s corpse mentioned, Xaviir could say nothing.

Still having a little time remaining, Carric researched the griffins, having never seen them. Along with an autopsy, Carric found an interesting journal, written by someone who claimed to have lived with the beings. According to the writer, the griffins possessed sentience rivaling that of humanoids, but their territorial and aggressive nature had given them a bestial reputation.

With these facts in mind, the Party rested well in the comfort of Flameheart’s soft beds. It would probably be a long time when they have the opportunity for that again…

The Living Tomb
21st Session

On the 8th of Shedding the Party had traversed the Misty Woods to their destination: An impenetrable wall of thick tree trunks, the Living Tomb. Althea was already there, having made her way from the river delta where the Huntress was docked. She had found the place with the guidance from a grateful group of wood elves she had met during her own trek.

The entrance to the Living Tomb was a thick, thorny bush covering a narrower, almost cave-like path. The cave mouth had inscriptions on it in the secret language of the Druids, one that Glinish recognized but couldn’t read. These inscriptions, in truth directions how to safely enter the Tomb, proved unnecessary. Glinish hunted a rabbit and presented it to the door as a gift to the Divines. The door, allowing access to those who came either for new burials or to those who came to honor the dead, understood this as a gift to the dead and opened. The Party, however, decided to make camp and rest before entering the unknown.

On the next day, 9th of Shedding, the Party again opened the door and took their gift inside. The walls of the Tomb were grown from living wood, thick tree trunks making columns that rose up to the dark canopy above. Ambient lighting, coming seemingly from nowhere, guided the Party further inside. Beyond an antechamber and a room bearing the name “Rogues’ Tomb” in a wooden plaque on the wall the Party found a chapel dedicated to Mishra and Sithrakh. Three passages led to “War Veterans”, “Great People” and “Leaders”, and an additional short corridor to a gallery with shiny treasures tantalizingly on display. But the biggest feature on the room was a large wooden vat full of still, clear water, again carved with druidic symbols.

While investigating the curious vat, Althea was reminded of a smaller one her mother used for scrying. When everything else failed, she tried her flute, playing a beautiful, enchanting melody. It drew a small spirit from the depths of the water to its surface, lured by the beautiful song. Althea asked the spirit to take them to Adalrik, telling that they brought him a gift. The Spirit then emerged from the water and flew into one of the passages, leading the way into the labyrinthine crypts.

Eventually the spirit took them to a smaller chamber, containing some tapestries depicting a tall, hooded character holding a staff in one hand and the Moons on the other, the same staff on display and an elf-sized sarcophagus of leafy sprigs. The Party had arrived to Adalrik’s crypt. They gave the gift to a receptacle at the bottom of the sarcophagus. Althea, now confident that the Living Tomb would allow them to do anything so long as it was respecting the dead, took a jar of unguent and stated that she would wish to apply it to the body. The sarcophagus opened, revealing the mummified remains of Adalrik, the Diviner.

Having gotten the idea from the scrolls they discovered in the wizard lair in Assarna, Althea began a chilling tune, one that drew a semblance of life back to the corpse. Tiny stars flared to existence in the dark eyesockets and an ethereal wind blew through its mouth, allowing the thing to speak. Althea asked the corpse of Adalrik where his secret lair was located. The Diviner answered: “In the Valley of Trodgaf is a wishing well. Light the Signal fires, and the fourth one will guide the way from the well.” Although cryptic, this message gave the Party a solid lead. Glinish, being wary of wizards’ lairs, asked him of its magical defenses. “Only clay and stone” was the answer.

Another question was whether the Adalrik would allow them to take his staff and spellbook, which was buried along with his body. The corpse was ambivalent, stating that he had created the items to be used. Emboldened by this, Carric took the book. As soon as his hands grabbed it, the spirit that had guided them to the crypt fled. Alarmed by this, he also took the staff and the Party fled to the corridors. After nearly becoming lost in the turns, Glinish used their tracks in the soft ground to backtrack to the entrance. However, it was blocked by a seemingly endless stream of skeletons, reanimated by ropy vines. Not willing to brave the labyrinth, the party charged, blasting through the bony guardians with magic and leaving behind splinters and embers.

Battered by the fight, they returned to the chapel, only to be confronted by another guardian: A huge elemental, consisting of flowing water, demanding the Party to return the stolen goods. Not willing to fight the imposing being, Carric stated that they were given permission to take them. A slight hesitation in the elemental’s being gave the sorcerer an opening, and with wit, guile and charm, he managed to convince the being to allow them to keep the items.

And so, the Party emerged back to the eternal twilight of the Misty Woods, armed with their next goal: Adalrik’s lair, which would hopefully contain powerful enough magic to find out where Edessa or the demons’ portal lay.


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