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.

Gwyn and the Hydra
20th Session

Knowing that the rangers would know their map was stolen, the Party decided to split to confuse any pursuers: Althea would take the Huntress and find a place to dock in the shores of the Misty Woods, while Glinish would lead the rest through the forest.

The journey to the woods’ took two days worth of traveling along the coast. Thanks to Glinish’s uncanny ranging skills the Party was not followed, and on 6th of Shedding they found themselves at the edges of the Misty Woods. Unassuming from the distance, the woods’ majestic nature became only apparent when the Party entered: The undergrowth was invisible under a near-constant white layer of mist, and the forest canopy rose into impossible heights, plunging the insides of the woods in perpetual dusk.

Knowing that word had probably gotten to the relatively safe northern part of the Misty Woods where the Kurrach’ border patrols would be alert, Glinish decided to risk the southern edge, which was Murguax’s private hunting field. As they headed south, the footpaths became deer paths, lined with sharp, nasty razorvines.

After almost a day’s travel, the Party happened across one of the hidden wonders of Misty Woods: A gigantic carved statue of a dragon, with glowing emeralds as its eyes. As the Party took in the wonders, Glinish let his senses merge with the land, attempting to sense the presence of any extraordinary beings, such as dragons. His worries were founded: A dragon was nearby, behind the Party. But he sensed another, more curious creature. A radiant being from beyond the material world: A celestial.

The Party picked up the pace, which was unfortunately futile. Murguax caught them. Carric used his magic to hide himself and the elf sage Sunder, while Glinish and Dulkan hid using only their wits. As the huge green dragon drew near, he was impressed at the Party’s abilities, revealing that he thought them as merely more competent spies. Just a scant few meters away from the hidden heroes, Murguax roared, sending a spike of pure terror into the hearts of the Party. While Glinish, being desensitized to the presence of a dragon and Sunder, trusting his newfound friends, resisted the urge to panic, Carric and Dulkan faltered. Carric, as an unconscious automated response, could only watch and take notes on the amazing being. But the slightest clink of his ink bottle was enough: Murguax fixed his gaze at the exact point where he was.

The Party ran.

Murguax breathed pure poison at Carric, more to terrify the sorcerer further than to merely kill him. Glinish, knowing that he would need to keep the party as together as possible, dashed after him through the poison, nearly dying in the process. The duo ran, the mocking laughter of Murguax hot on their heels. After realizing that the dragon was driving them towards somewhere, Glinish diverged, heading inexorably east towards their ultimate goal. This did not go well with the dragon, who became tired with the chase. Murguax landed in front of them with disheartening speed. “Your time is up.”

But in the thicket beside, Carric saw a light. He and his companion jinked away into the narrower path, merely inconveniencing the dragon who dived after them. The narrow, difficult path led to a serene little pond, with no way out. The heroes dived deep, just as another cloud of lethal poisons filled the air behind them. The only way was deeper down…

…and suddenly they surfaced. It was the pond, but different. The woods were knobbly and sickly green, small lights danced in the air and the stone they had dived from was smooth and carved with symbols. Sylvan symbols, as Carric could recognize. But most importantly, there were no pursuing dragons in sight.

Meanwhile, Dulkan and Sunder, along with Nini, Glinish’s pet pseudodragon had managed to find each other. Wondering about what to do, Sunder was contacted telepathically. Some entity offered them a path to safety. Wary, but without a better alternative, Dulkan and Sunder followed the directions. They were led to a promenade in the middle of the forest, with a clear stone floor and two rows of columns connected to each other by an arch. Each arch had a carving of one of the Divines on it. Their mysterious benefactor had instructed them to pray for Zariss, so the heroes investigated the archway… And found themselves in the same place, except that the columns were more ornate, more otherworldly… And there was a terrible, five-headed dragonlike monster waiting for them!

Again they were running for their lives, but this time the monster was stopped in its tracks by entangling vines. As they left the creature behind, their rescuer approached… A gleaming white horse with a golden mane flowing in an ethereal wind and a single horn proudly protruding from its forehead… A unicorn!

The unicorn, Gwyn, brought the Party together in the otherworldly realm they had found themselves in. She had helped them out of pure generosity and offered to lead them to another “door” where they could return to the “Other Side”. When questioned what the place was, Gwyn told that she was the last Beautiful One living in the woods. The corruption and poison that was seeping through the doors was the influence of what she called “the child”, apparently meaning Murguax. The green dragon had apparently managed a guardian of his own to safeguard these borders: The beast, known as Hydra.

Without hesitation, the Party offered to kill the Hydra. Delighted by the nobility of the heroes but fearful for their lives, Gwyn took their offer. After some planning, the Party decided to trap the remains of a landlocked ship in a clearing near the Hydra’s lair and lure it there. Ropes, hunting traps and nets would attempt to keep it in place while the Party would pour oil and fire on it. Glinish put his hunting experience to the limit as he set up the snares and the traps.

After the hard work the Party decided to rest overnight and tackle the Hydra in the morning, despite Gwyn’s warnings that people could “forget themselves” in the woods. Carric, however, returned to the pond, for the stepping stone’s sylvan symbols spelled a pretty poem. Inspired by it, Carric had a refreshing swim and followed it with a trip to another clearing that Gwyn told had singing faces carved into the stone. The stones’ singing lured the Hydra to the clearing, where it promptly gave chase to Carric.

The sorcerer fled to the ship, but his luck ran out. Three of the beast’s snapping heads caught Carric and savaged him unconscious. Before it could finish him, Gwyn charged in, kicking and turning its attention to her. The Hydra, finally catching the unicorn that had frustrated it, bit and bit, nearly ending her life. She teleported her and Glinish, carrying unconscious Carric to the ship.

But while the sorcerer was unconscious, her contributions were instrumental. Both Glinish and Dulkan had imbibed her flame breath potions, brewed from Khariss’ blood. The flaming breaths burned the Hydra, who pursued Dulkan right into the trap. Injured by the snares, flaming oils and arrows, it attempted to escape before succumbing to the flames.

With Gwyn’s magic, Carric was up again. But the Hydra had gotten her left eye, which refused to heal. However, the half-elf had no time to lament the loss, as the Party controlled the fire, extracted useful parts of the Hydra carcass and investigated its lair. Among the saddening remains they found the dead body of a dwarf, perhaps lured to his doom by an incomprehensible treasure map. Interestingly, he had a broken elaborate circular object with him. It probably was, at some point, a magical item. His warpick held clues to his identity, but the Party would need access to a library to investigate.

After they were done, Gwyn escorted the Party to a safe doorway to the Other Side. As a parting gift, she allowed Carric to cut a strand of her mane, a gift the sorcerer valued dearly. The Party traveled through the gigantic, beautiful tree and found themselves back in the Misty Woods, in a forgotten shrine to Mishra. After the longest and strangest night, they finally made camp and rested, pleased to know that the Living Tomb was only a short jaunt away….

Journey to the East
19th Session

On the 23rd of Reaping, as the Huntress was heading towards Sunder’s hideout, they came across a single longboat, containing a man named Orrie. He claimed to be a survivor of the cargo ship that was carrying Athuin, the Paladin of Mishra. It was attacked by a giant shark in the dead of night, and in the chaos and confusion only Orrie survived. The Party agreed to search for any survivors, yet Glinish was wary of the man.

As evening fell, the Huntress approached Karhe reef, and the Party took the longboat in search of the survivors. Heavy rain was making the effort difficult, but they knew they had to try. Orrie desired to come along… for an ultimately nefarious purpose. As they left the hearing range of the Huntress, Orrie gulped down a hidden potion and cracked open a magical stone that unleashed a torrent of water, sinking the ship and nearly drowning Althea.

But with teamwork and Carric’s magical abilities, the Party regrouped. Carric, using the magical ring found from Assarna’s wizard lair, swam back to the Huntress, pulling the rest of the party on a disc of arcane energy. Glinish climbed aboard, just in time to stop the saboteur of sinking the Huntress with another stone. They were safe again.

The Party interrogated the man and found out that he, too, was a member of the Followers of the Guardian, and he had volunteered to sink the reinforcements to Bowmeet. After the questioning, Dulkan took him to answer another question: Since the Party’s and Followers’ goals were quite similar, why had Mishra given her blessing to the Party’s cause? This perplexed the man and he could not find an answer.

This time taking the _Huntress_’ longboat, the Party left for the reef again, this time with results: They discovered the survivors of the sunken ship, who included the Paladin. After bringing them on board and discussing the situation, Althea showed him the flower given by the druids. Athuin was impressed and suggested them to find a priest of Mishra and ask for a divine seance. Soon enough the Huntress came across a passenger ship who took the Paladin to Bowmeet.

On the 24th of Reaping the Party finally arrived to a small sheep farm where Sunder was hiding. After a heartfelt meeting with Althea and the retelling of the Party’s story, Sunder could provide the information he was privy to: The burial place of Adalrik, an ancient diviner. According to his information, Adalrik was a powerful wizard whose power afforded him leeway even with the dragons. He finally fell in the battle of Urktik between Sfara and Czarr, taking his secrets with him. But his body was buried in the Living Tomb, which lay in the Misty Woods.

The journey to the Misty Woods would take several days, each one another turn of the hourglass for Edessa. But it was a necessary journey. Before they undertook the long crossing over the Eastern Passage, the Party gave Pivot and Kenkirk, the arcane artisans a huge stipend of much of their amassed wealth. This patronage allowed them to leave for the wizard lair in Assarna, where they could start infusing, engraving and imbuing new magical artifacts.

As time inexorably sailed onward, so did the party. On the 4th of Shedding they arrived in Karvak, a port in the nation of Kurrach. The nation was ruled by Murguax, a terrifying green dragon. This was clear by the festivities in the misty and cold city: The annual Murguax’s celebration week.

The Party, after sampling the famous local wines, received a tip from Glinish’s contact: The local border guards in the Misty Woods probably knew the location of the Living Tomb. After direct pleas for the map fell on indifferent ears, the Party sneaked into the border guards’ barracks and stole their treasured maps. With those, the Party could plot their path to the Living Tomb, and great magical secrets…

The Patron of Shadow
18th Session

The jailbreak went as well as it could have, considering the circumstances. Some wizards were blamed by other wizards to be the reason the university burned, and the situation escalated into a fistfight. Only after both Glinish and Dulkan came to break up the fight and start the charge into freedom did the wizards relent.

Using Glinish’ magical animals, the Party managed to create an opening. Ser Brack and the local priest attempted to stop the outburst of people, but the wizards’ magics thwarted their efforts. Dulkan managed to lead most of them to safety, aided by Glinish’ nigh-supernatural ability to blend into the streets… Par for a few. One of the aggressive wizards, brimming with fury, hurled a fireball to the Ashanti’s temple, causing death and destruction. Another one attempted to stop him from doing that, but he failed, only to be rewarded with capture. The terrorizing wizard fled into the mist, guided by arcane speed.

The Party collected the rest, mostly sages and students of non-magical matters. They questioned them for any knowledge on Adalrik or Ixthoth. One of them had studied the scraps and fragments of the latter and began compiling his knowledge into a written format. The Party then left, giving the sages as a gift to the Patron of Shadow, who had arrived to Bowmeet after nightfall. Glinish took the Party to finally meet the enigmatic criminal lord.

In the cave that the Party had cleaned of the horrid beasts, they witnessed the true identity of the Patron of Shadow: A green dragon who called herself Thivarax. Dulkan’s initial mistrust played right into Thivarax’s reason for being so secretive: She knew few would see past her being and hear her words. Carric, however, did not have the same reservations and engaged Thivarax in conversation. The Dragon first asked the Party to relegate their tale, and was especially interested in the details of Khariss’ death. Carric sensed that she was concerned that the Party would be the Dragonslayer.

Indeed, Thivarax explained that she had learned that someone, or something, had managed to kill a young dragon called Morathiss. This had happened several years ago (NOTE! I’m retconning this, realized some background stuff wouldn’t make sense in what I said in the game) while she was travelling the world, seeking a method to acquire power. Then, over a year ago, another one, Avarothul, was also slain. As both were quite close to her own age, she decided to look into it. What she discovered that these deaths were kept relatively obscure and no-one took responsibility. No-one but the Followers of the Guardian, whose devouts claimed that the Guardian was the one who had slain the dragons.

Now the Followers were spreading and Thivarax saw them as a threat to her own plans to end the hostility between the dragons and their subjects. The Followers would create more aggression and chaos, effectively ensuring that the dragons would quash them violently. Thivarax wanted to acquire power and prestige to ensure that her voice would be heard amongst the dragons themselves and hopefully, eventually, lead to a more respectful treatment of the other races. Or, at least, less indifferent.

Thivarax offered her help with the Party’s problems, opening her information network to their use in exchange for their assistance against the Dragonslayer. When she pressed them to swear that they would end the Dragonslayer when they finally found them, the Party avoided answering. They would want to know more before committing to an act of such finality. Thivarax made note of this, warning them that the lack of trust and commitment cut both ways, as they could use her help with finding Edessa and Ixthoth.

Before the Party left for Sunder’s hideout, led by Glinish, Carric exchanged a few words with the dragon about the nature of sorcerous souls. Thivarax expressed her view that the realm of the souls, from where Mishra draws new life and to where Sithrak deposits the departed, contains a lot more dragon souls than there are physical dragons in existence. Sometimes Mishra gives a dragon’s soul to a non-dragonic vessel, and that soul tries to burst through the weaker shell it inhabits. Those bursts of sorcerous power are the true nature of one’s soul attempting to escape. While this satisfied Carric, the dragon failed to give a satisfactory answer to her inquiries about the nature of Wild sorcerers, such as Edessa. Thivarax gave him a name of a dragon who apparently collected such magical information, called Zendikhar. She promised him a meeting, should he help her goals.

After the meeting was over, the Party returned to the ship. There, the wizards the Patron had rewarded them with had found out the true nature of the magical fan and the flying cloak the Party had discovered: They were parts of a gnomish techno-magical invention: A flying contraption! If the Party would discover the rest of the parts, or the blueprints for the whole device, they could perhaps rebuild the contraption. After this bit of exciting news, the Huntress undocked, heading north towards Sunder’s hideout…

Glinish's Arrival
17th Session

The Party regained themselves. Carric, after being healed by the healing melodies of Althea, realized the situation: The being was Ixthoth, a lich who was imprisoned in his lair by Carric’s friend’s ancestor. The doll was an effigy of Ixthoth, and the pins held in place the swords and spears that bound him to the place. After the terrible battle that brought the victory over the wizard, the lair was sealed and all records were purged, lest no-one try to release him. The doll was guarded by Carric’s friend, who passed away childless. That is why it was in Carric’s possession, where it was then used to release the lich.

Disappointed and now suspicious of the Patron of Shadow, the Party returned to the Huntress, aiming to rest and tackle the situation on the following day. Borel, regretful over releasing Ixthoth, asked Carric for what he could do. In anger and frustration, Carric spat that he should find the lich’s phylactery. That is what Borel left to do.

Meanwhile, things were stirring. Glinish Furear, a servant of the Patron of Shadow, was collecting the wizards that the crime lord had collected to present to the Party when they would finish the task. Glinish organized a further meeting with his trusted joint, the Running Dwarf. On the following morning, the 21st of Reaping, the Party met at the dwarf brothel, from where Glinish took them to meet the wizards.

The Wizards were a pair of artificers, craftsmen of magical items. They knew relatively little of the kind of power the Party would require to find Edessa, the demon’s intended gate, or now, Ixthtoth. But they had heard from Sunder, Althea’s mentor when she was at Bowmeet, of a mage, Adalrik. The powerful diviner had lived in the Age of War and legend told that he had constructed wondrous, truth-seeing artifacts. While these artifacts were never found, Sunder had apparently learned of the place where Adalrik was buried in.

As luck would have it, Glinish had met Sunder. The elf had been moved to the northern coast and it would be a trivial task for him to arrange a meeting. But further assistance from the Patron of Shadow would necessitate another task, a show of trust: The indebtment of a shipping company that the Patron would then sweep under his wings.

This act of vandalism, while alluring in its directness, ran afoul of the Party’s moral cores. They instead presented their view: Thanks to the Patron’s request, there was now a lich free to terrorize the world, and it would be his benefit to speak with the Party directly. Glinish accepted this and arranged a meeting. The Patron would arrive to claim the now-empty smuggling cave for himself the following night. Meanwhile, Glinish decided to help out the Party, perhaps as a further bargaining chip with the Patron, perhaps because of his own motivations.

Meanwhile, the Party decided to free the wizards imprisoned by the Paladins for additional information. It would be a difficult task, but with luck, the Party wouldn’t even need the demanding and vague Patron of Shadow: Perhaps one of the imprisoned wizards would know more. They decided to infiltrate the Temple’s dungeon with magical invisibility and prepare for a diversion when the wizards would be free. The infiltration worked fine, but the amount of wizards and personnel was more than Glinish and Dulkan could feasibly handle. The Priests were alerted to something happening in the dungeon, the diversion panicked the ground floor, and the anger and confusion amongst the now-free wizards was getting to the boiling point…


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