Shadows in the Dark

The party drags along the snoring body of the Otrenan and follows the lamps to to the first point of interest. They emerge in a large square surrounding a fortified building of three stories. Bones litter the ground here and there seem to be two distinct types of equipment. Ser Durus and Meryn stay outside with the sleeper while the rest cautiously enter the gloom through the decayed doors. After about two hours of searching they discover a few jewels, some coins, a secret room with a gas trap that saps Marcus’ strength containing a jeweled comb, a falchion with a wolf head pommel a ring, 8 books and some fancy clothes. On the top floor they come across the body of a larger creature surrounded by the remains of a number of enemies. The skeleton wears four gold torcs around its arm and a large bracer of what appears to be elemental earth. The armour is of a variety not seem before and consists of leather banded with metal which was taken to reconstruct later. Leaving, they hear a rythmic ‘boom’ repeat coming from behind, and they hurry on.

The second point of interest lay in a park the bisects the city that was filled with shadows and the whisperings of wind that should not exist. More bones littered the ground. Emerging on the far side they come across an abandoned wagon with a sealed amphora of wine which the Otrenan fills a waterskin with. Soon after they encounter a fountain with a wolf head spout. They turn it on and everyone but the rangers drink their fill. Close by they hear the sounds of merry-making and lively music in a city that so far has had no sounds but for the jangle of armour and pounding of feet. They follow the sound to an inn. Looking in the window they see an empty room with a lute siting on a table. They open the door and are greeted by the smell of alcohol, smoke and the noises of a full and thriving pub. The man behind the bar beckons them in and the Otrenan and elf enter, leaving everyone else outside. They move awkwardly through the crowd to the bar where the Otrenan proceeds to ask an assortment of questions which result in him learning that the date is 5th day in the Second season of Wind in the 11th year since the deposition of the Despot Urassin. This is Culhwch and Olwen’s wedding day and everyone is celebrating. The city is Yulharran and the fountain they found was dedicated to the goddess Felmae Uraste. He asks about Otren but is met with confusion as they only seem to know it as a warlord in the north and not a country. The sword they found seems to belong to Culhwch from his days before taking the boar as his symbol.

They continue on to the next point which turns out to be a temple. Again bodies lie scattered about and in a couple spots there are piles and in one spot a large scortch mark. Inside the temple lie seven sarcophagi in seven alcoves. Two appear to be empty while the other five bear resemblances of men and women. As they enter a voice booms “The path to the future is one walked by the past. Heroes are more than just legends but destiny incarnate. Return their weapons to them and claim your reward.” Each alcove is filled with frescoes depicting the deeds of the hero entombed within and as they enter each in turn the same voice introduces them -

Jeraim, Minstrel to the Silver Court, Councilor of the Seven;
Har-Rahim, Mage of the 10th order, Ambassador to the Western Kingdoms, Councilor of the Seven; Isula, Abbottess of Light, Healer of the Consort, Councilor of the Seven;
Ok, Subjugator of the Northern tribes, Chief of the Ygarn, Councilor of the Seven;
Ederyn, The White Ranger, Councilor of the Seven;
Emperor Ceilon the Kingdomless, Father of Justice, Councilor of the Seven;
Culhwch Boartamer, Slayer of the Despot, Councilor of the Seven.

The five occupied ones all were missing their weapons. The party searched through the various locations and puzzled how to retrieve each. Eventually, they managed to get each one and return it to the resemblance’s hands. With each return the person recieved a vision the their final moments. They all seemed to die defending the temple. Once all the weapons were in place the floor around the altar shifted to reveal stair down. They followed them down into darkness and passed more skeletons in the walls of the crypt, crossed a small channel or water and emerged in a low room facing a mumified looking man sitting limp on a throne with a shield resting beside showing a rampant boar. An inscription above the figure read “The Rampant Boar will run again when the wind raises this lord high before men”

Exp: 1000 (Will detail how I want you to level later)
Loot: in first paragraph


The Otrenan finds himself in a dark forest, a half moon in the sky. Behind him he hears the hoot of an owl. Silently it glides over him and sembles into a beautiful woman with midnight hair dressed in robes of purple and silver. She introduces herself as Yuxohlmadre. She claims to have rescued him from the machinations of another, at which point he hears a howl of frustration and anger from somewhere in the night. She will return the warrior to the world as she sees a destiny awaiting. Some time later he sits up in a tent filled with bodies.

The elf appears in a desolate wasteland, where not even a breeze moves the air. A wisp appears before him and becomes an alien looking woman who the elf recognizes from his racial memory to be an air elemental. She tells him that he can not join them yet and angrily sends him back. He awakes in a tent.

After looting the battlefield the party checks in on the Baron, who has been brought to his manor, now in his human form. The bodyguards let them in as they were summoned by the sons. They are led to the master bedroom where the still form of the Baron lies under blankets, tended to by healing women. The sons introduce themselves and inform the party that they are needed to help bring their father back from the place he now resided between life and death. They need to enter the ancient city under the mountain and wake the sleeping Culhwch who is apparently the only one who might do for the task. They are told he was locked within the city by the Baron after a disagreement the specifics of which the sons do not know as it was before their time. They are permitted to take along whomever they wish as they are not sure how dangerous the place may be. The Swan Knight and his companions volunteer as a point of honour out of respect for a might warrior, and Waigne and Marcus agree as well.

They set off the next day with an escort of four ‘Half-brothers’ as the sons name them (mysterious figures who never reveal their features and rarely speak. They enter the tower they had defended the previous day and find a large hole in the floor and a passage leading down rough-hewn steps that emerge onto a cobbled highway. As they continue they come across the signs of battle and find the bodies of eight men who they recognize as accompanying the mage. They reach the gates after a time. It rises up into the darkness and bears a number of blast marks. A half-brother takes out a pink gem and tosses it up into the darkness where it disappears. A glow begins second later and the earth shakes as the gates slowly rumble open, revealing a ruined city beyond. The half-brothers say they will be back in three days to pick them up and them depart, the gates closing behind them.

The party creeps its way along the road and examine a few buildings. The Otrenan sees that the buildings here bear similarities to the bridge over Dragon’s Fall in their construction. Torches light the main street and a few side streets. Most buildings have caved in roofs or demolished walls. Carts and piles of bones lie where they fell. As they continue they hear a set of heavy footsteps approaching. The rangers hide and the knights stand in the centre of the street as a massive statue comes from a side street. It hails them and asks their buisiness after which it gives a bunch of prophetic and generally unhelpful hints at various things it can sense about them such as the Otrenan being the slave to a mistress, the elf he calls Herald, and the seh-elf is informed to beware of shadows within the city and without. As it leaves it reminds them that “the ice melts”. Soon after they find an ancient shop front with a still sealed amphora which the Otrenan opens and fills his flask with followed by a taste. He manages to mumble something incoherent as he falls face-first into the cobbles and begins to snore.

Exp: 400
Loot: Flask of honey, Suit of very ellaborate armour, a pavillion, and a boar tusk helm taken from Ser Roger. Bunch of masterwork weapons, some gold, 2 potions, some paints.

Part 5: Collateral Damage

Finding themselves facing a wizard of fearsome reputation the party chose discretion as the better part of valour and left the mage and his cohort to whatever was in the tower, while they took their unconscious members and escaped to the catapults. From here they launched salvoes of boulders at the lurching barges below and succeeded in blocking the river by sinking the first few. They then made their way down the hill with all haste and, with some tripping, managed to reach the valley floor badly bruised and ready for healing. They reported to the Baron who informed them he was granting them the priviledge of riding with he and his bodyguard in the battle on the morrow. This met mixed enthusiasm but was followed and so they rode with the man once the enemy general – the Swan Knight – was reported to have taken the field. Cavalry charged cavalry and carnage ensued, with the party managing to avoid the worst of it as they followed in the Baron’s wake. They arrived at the back of the enemy formation and found themselves facing the enemy general, who the Baron quickly unhorsed by leaping from his saddle to talk him. The fight then went rather quickly as the party picked apart the general’s bodyguard, loosing only one of their own in return. The she-elf managed to capture two knights of the Swan Knight’s entourage and the Swan knight himself after a brutal single combat with the Baron.

Victorious the survivors surveyed the battlefield as the enemey routed and withdrew, followed closely by the Clansmen and Crugan troops loyal to the Baron. The field of battle lay drenched in blood and covered with tens of thousands of bodies. Miles of land were trampled to mud. The party trots it’s way back towards their encampment with captives in tow. Before they arrive there is a clap of thunder and a familiar man appears in front of the column. The mage converses with the Baron and demands a key. The Baron refuses and a fight begins that quickly spirrals out of control and results in the deaths of 12 bodyguard, the Otrenan and the elf. Some how the she-elf survives the circle of death along with her 3 captives. Waigne is left alone fighting the mage, apprently unaware of the danger he is in and lightning discharges around him,exploding corpses and horses but he remains unscathed. The Baron seemed to go down with everyone else but almost as suddenly a gargantuan dragon appears where he used to be and a fight in ernest begins that is quickly joined by the two sons who in turn semble into draconic forms. A running fight begins that lasts about a minute and carries the combants away from the slaughter. At the end the she-elf witnesses a bright ray smash into the larger dragon which causes it to crash to the ground. Another clap of thunder is heard and the wizard is gone.

The she-elf begins gathering her party’s corpses along with two of the bodyguard and sets them in a tent to await burial and so they won’t be looted and sets out to scour the field for treasures with her captives. Meanwhile the everyone is panicked by the sight of three dragons sudden appearance or too busy looting or fighting the remaining pockets of resistance to notice.

Part 3+4: Let Battle Commence!

The characters were tasked with commanding elements of the defence forces. The Otrenan took a unit of greataxe wielding heavies, the she-elf was backed by her fellow clansmen, and the elf decided to use hit and run tactics with some archers. The heavies were driven back after an initial rush and were gradually pulled down to the last few men before the enemy withdrew. The she-elf’s forces fared far better early on, mincing a unit of regulars but then began falling quickly due to exhaustion after killing so many foes. The elf and his archers rained death upon the flanks and rear of the enemy from across the river and made the marshy area bordering the river a quagmire of bodies and blood. The Afon forces held, which can be see nas a victory of sorts.

After reporting to the Baron once more the group was tasked with keeping watch over the battlefield and signalling troop movements from the northern tower. They and 15 men (4 heavies, 4 medium, 5 archers, Marcus, and Waigne) trudged the 3 hour climb to the tower and set about directing troops over the next day of fighting. By their directions the Afon was held for another morning though no desicive actions or pushes were made by either side and fighting continues into the afternoon. During a lull in the fighting the tower was attacked by a force of 25 men led by a mountain of a man. Marcus put up a solid defence but was not on form as he had been against the wizards and was quickly made unconcious. Waigne, again, was not on form and failed to kill a single foe with his characteristic flair and efficiency. The she-elf took down a number of foes but then fell victim to a twisted ankle. The fight ended when an archer in the nest shot the monstrous man in the back while fighting the Otrenan. They managed to heal 2 men leaving their forces at 3 heavies, 2 medium, and 4 archers. They tied up the giant and searched him for information of which there was very little apart from a medaillion depicting a talon within a circle with an inscription around its edge.

About 20 minutes later one of the guards raised the alarm when he spotted a group of 10 barges travelling down the river carrying thousands more men to the battle under the banner of the Byley family. While the garriosn watched from the ramparts, behind them in the bailey a thunderous noise shook the air and they turned to see the wizard from the skin tent along with several men now occupying the fort. The Otrenan, with his new greatsword, waved menacingly and frightened a few of the men but the wizard simply laughed it off and ignored him. Spotting the giant tied up in the corner he turn his attention on him and blasted the man to dust for failing in his task of securing the fort. The fight continues next time…

Exp Lvl 4s get 500+978; lvl 3 get 500+1017 (500 from session before)
Loot: Adamantine greatsword, mastrwrk fullplate, medallion, 100gp, various standard sets of equipment (chainmail, leather, swords of various descriptions, lots of rope, shields)
Next game tentatively set for monday next week.

Part 2: Fire in the Sky

Having succeeded in their mission to stop the war-mages from entering the fray the party headed back to the Baron, who gave them a half day of rest before sending them out once more to harrass enemy forces across the bridge. Not a quarter of the way across did they run into the bedraggled remnants of the thousand men supposed to be guarding the far side. There were claims of monsters appearing and ripping ranks apart and thunderous charges by cavalry, resulting in the shattering of the defences. A handful of men had been in any fit condition to fight and so they led a rearguard action to save their fellows and were holed up in the mid point fort. The party arrived moments before the doors were caved in to the courtyard and a fierce battle ensued that saw the death of the dozen or so remaining rearguard and the party in flight after the arrival of the Baron, a younger Baron, and the war-mage Ughran Mar, who told them to flee while they held against the onrushing tide of steel and meat. Nearing the end of the bridge they looked back in time to see a massive explosion come from the fort. Unpon arriving back they learned that the army was mustering as a second front had openeed to the south of Dragon’s Fall with the defeat and destruction of the Dwarf run tower that guarded the approach. They were told to rest and await orders. As they were heading to the medical tent they heard a great cry raised by the crowds of soldiers and soon came face to face with the three heroic figures, now badly singed. they are to report to the Baron on the morn.

Exp: 400
Next Game: Tuesday 14th Sept

In Defence of the Afon: Part 1

While recovering their loot and wounds the group was bombarded with information from allies and contacts. The Red Lilies are about to set off East, across the sea to the Uncharted lands in seach of a battle of utmost improtance and seek whatever help they might have. The Northern Barons and their allies have been pushed back and a main city is under siege within a week’s march. Villages to the West have been torched by some unknown force, though no armies or bandits have been reported in the area and there are no survivors to point fingers. The Afon is under siege after a string of defeats to the vastly superior forces of the Council under the leadership of the Swan Knight. The group chose to accompany the Emissary back to the Afon and were joined by 3000 soilders from Urad making good on their mutual defence treaty.

Upon reaching the valley they were presented to Baron Cei, the commander of the Afonian and allied forces after the recent capture of the king’s nephew. Plans were made to contact the Saddleborn for aid and defences erected. The group volunteered along with a knight (Ser Wayne) and an assasin (Marcus) to infiltrate the enemey camp and deal with the four battle mages to ensure they stay out of the battle to come. They did this successfully except for the final mage who refused all offers and who the group did not feel comfortable fighting.

The forces of the Allies number about 23,000, while the Swan Knight’s stand around 50,000

Exp: 1440
Loot: Boots of Striding and Leaping, Tome of Dex +2, Potion of fly, 2 rings of Protection +1
Lost: Sword of Bard

A Brush with Death

So the following synopsis of the last adventure is based on my frail memory, but because of my ultimate power as DM anything I say here happened. Got it?

Having lost track of the elf wench, the scouts doubled back and gave their report to the Basileus who then ordered an assult for the following morning. The assult went well in the initial stages, though the general was injured by an arrow. The Otrenan accompanied the heavies and helped take a tower while the elf shot men as they retreated from the walls. They then found their way in through a side gate into the bailey and let in the rest of the army who then pressed the surviving enemies against the gate. The Otrenan led a phalanx charge and was met by the enemy general who made short work of him. The elf tried to snipe the imposing figure but missed every time. The allied troops were being worn down by the surviving foes until a figure emerged from the main door and 6 rather dead looking things burst through walls on either side of the bailey. The allies broke and fled but before the foe could give chase the sole man began gathering energy to himself from the six creatures and released it all in a titanic wave that turned the enemey to dust and destroyed the bailey walls and the curtain wall behind as leaves in the wind. The man then collapsed to one knee and an apparition appeared in front of him, cowled in a hood of feathers. the figure spoke words to the drained man and reached out his hand to touch the mans forehead which caused the man to loose all colour and fall to the ground, lifeless. The general eventually found his way up, by which time the Otrenan was consious and they were told that the god of death, Rook, had made an appearance and took the man’s soul for messing with the dead. They would all get an share of the loot and their promised payment and could consider themselves released from their contract now that the misson was complete. It was at this point that the elf girl chose to appear and revealed that she had found the mage in a cell and had released him.

Loot: 150gp each, one special item to be determined at the next game.
Exp: 300

Swept Aside

While deciding what to do next a scout rode into the character’s hamlet announcing the arrival of a small army the following day around noon. True to his estimate an army of Urad trudged into the valley around noon. It comprises about 350 men plus officers and is lead by Basileus Kramos. 250 of the men appear to be mercenaries from across the sea and have greyish-blue skin. The characters treated them to hospitality and hired themselves to the force as scouts, as Urad has very few specially trained men for the purpose. Amoung what was assumed to be the Basileus’ command cadre there were two of foreigners and a man obviously from the Afon. The mission was to secure a fortification along the old trade route in the next valley before the forces of Tysur and if they had already made it their then to take it from them to secure this approach to Urad.

The force set out the next day and ascended a pass at the north end of the valley. After 5 days slow travel through the mountain passes they emerged from the pass overlooking a lush valley of conifers with a river running through it and a castle situated on a small hill in the centre. The main force would wait until nightfall to descend the exposed switchback route to the valley floor while the scouts would go forward and find out if the enemey had a presence in the area. What they found over the next day of trudging through new-growth forest was the presence of logging, some sort of creatures using crude weapons attacked the force opposing them and that the castle was indeed occupied.

The two rangers decided to take a closer look after one spotted bodies being put into boats. The she-elf went east and ended up being swept downstream by the powerful current, and into an underground cave system where she remains for the moment. The elf went west, circling the hill and ran into a patrol that he miraculously managed to convince he was a hermit/hunter/refugee of some sort in the area.

Exp: 300
Next Game: Mon 18 April

Between a Rock and a Clawed Place

So after causing what has become a brutal civil war, the characters decided to run away. The halfling left, escorted to the south coast by the Red Lily agents intending to catch a boat home. The others joined a spice caravan heading to Trilec after arranging their payment from the Red Lilies for their services. Before leaving they witnessed the violent expulsion of Orthes by three prominent families. It appears he has the aid of a powerful mage.

Travel was slow and took about a month. Refugees packed the roads with Saddleborn dedicated to their protection. They then went to work on the old tower in the mountains, aided by 4 workers and their foreman. Construction took about a month and work began on repairing the homestead. They managed to attract the families of three of the men to the valley and bought many animals.

An excursion into the mountains above the tower was made with the help of the foreman who revealed his military background fighting a mountian lion. They found two cubs in the cave which they managed to befreind and adopt. The elf made an excursion to his new Afon clan, the Legassick, whwre he received a grand welcome and completed his entry by getting a tatoo of an eye on his chest and his ritual war-blade.

Rumours reveal that in this third month since the death of Jaric things have drastically changed. Feltroane has invaded the West, Otren the north, Orthes has been forced back to his Eastern bastion, and rumours spread of Prince Sarin accompanying Otren forces with a host of unknown soldiers.

Exp: 400
Loot: 2 mountain lion cubs, land, and the security of a base.
Next Game: sometime next week, probably mon, tues, or thurs.

The Stone that Broke the Camel's Back

Arriving at last in Praalt, the characters set out to seek an audience with King Jaric to deliver their letters. They proceeded through the two tiers of city walls and came to those surrounding the palace. Showing their seal they were let in and escorted to an antechamber before a heavy curtain. After waiting a couple of hours they heard footsteps and an argument approaching. A courtier and a man they recognized as Walfreid exited from behind the curtain and continued their words, not noticing the waiting elves and halfling. They overheard talk of plans not proceeding as expected followed by Walfreid storming off and the courtier finally noticing the group. He introduce himself as Lord Byley and lead them to the king’s throne room. King Jaric recieved them and seemed quite spritely for a man of his advanced years. They ended up being aquited of all charges and sent on their way, much to their surprise.

Not knowing what to do with themselves the elf went into the woods looking for a creature to befriend and found himself in front of an ominous cave. He decided to turn back. The she-elf found herself a library and lucked out in finding all the books on zoology, heroes, and architecture she wanted. She learned of the bestial race of jhecht that inhabit the Drenn and of Quatroads what live in the swamps of the Afon, along with some other creatures. On heroes – Mark, First Sword of Sircrugmawr, died in the last campaign against the Neff; Idair, a ranger in northern Otren, rallied the people against the terrors of the Drenn; 50 years ago Hereworth the Brave united the region now encompassed in the province of Balderrig.
Meanwhile the halfling decided to seek out the Red Lilies commander to speak of possible work on sites and the aquisition of knowledge. They talked and it was agreed that he should come back the next day. This time he brought his taller companions and came upon another argument, this time between Walfreid and his mage Asher. They were shown in and asked to perform a task to save the king and by association, the kingdom. They were to steal an amulet worn by the king, thought to be destroying the king’s mind and making it so he wouldn’t listen to matters of state, meaning his council was free to do as they pleased without fear of reprisals.

They were given six potions of invisibility and sent on their way. After some fuss they managed to steal the pendant and escape the palace seperately due to the halfling abandonning his companions after being spooked by the sight of guards under his escape route. The other two managed to escape after quafing their second potions and sneaking up the gate towers to the battlements. the she-elf was resourcful and found a rope to aid her descent, while the elf tried to climb down the wall unaided and ended up falling 30feet and snapping the neck of a person below. Seperately they all legged it to the inn and tried to be as incognito as possible. Meanwhile the alarms were banging away at the palace.

The next morning after they had eaten breakfast the halfling decided to try and find a pearl so he could identify the properties of the stone, but as soon as he stepped out the door a man went rushing past yelling “The King is dead!” repeatedly. He immediately abandonned his shopping trip and the she-elf did it instead. The halfling inquired at the bar the cause of death and heard that it had been from a fall from the balcony as the king was prone to sleep walking. This scared the small one as he remembered he had left the balcony door open in his escape from the palace. The next news said he had been stabbed. Turns out it was both.

The party then went to the Red Lilies and found a number of them tending to wounds. Walfreid, himself was also looking worse for wear. It turned out that the amulet was a rare stone that pacefies all those in a certain radius so they can not even think of hurting someone. After long exposure it can start to effect the mind of it’s bearer. The Red Lilies explained that their group had been ambushed befroe they had had a chance to get to the king and protect him after the amulet was removed. Civil war was now the expected outcome. The factions may include:

*Jaric’s son, Sarin, potentially backed by Otren;
*Jaric’s nephew, Orthes, with support from the eastern provinces;
*The northern barons;
*Otren in repsonse to the lack of control the king had over his northern barons, who continuously raided their towns;
*The western provinces seeking independance;
*The Feltroan Principalities who, for the first time in 20 years, have had a king on the throne for more than a year;
*Various courtiers;
*Red Lilies.

Exp: 300
Loot: Civil war, one major gift from the Red Lilies (Liam chose supplies and money for his tower, Mike probably wants safe passage out of here before the borders close, Evan still needs to decide)
Next Game: Monday 28th March


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