Four Fables

Chapter 50: Trial by Combat
11-2-13 session

Timespan: 2nd Work 5:1209

The group entered the halls of the Temple of Tiamat expecting a fight but finding a peacful demonstration gathering. They meet Lady Sratha, head of the temple who explains their church is trying to state that their government is lacking and not helping with this plague that has claimed over 25 percent of the dragonborn population of Midia-Urartu. The soldiers of the city are keeping them inside their own temple from making any kind of demonstration near the castle. She gives some helpful hints to the group: She mentions of the other scions but saying that the fourth has not been revealed yet. She also mentions that King Eglon III is sick with the Hellfever plague and Lord Abaddon has been taking over his work in his absence. The co-kings children, Prince Enos and Princess Vasht, were married over a year ago and are celebrating their anniversary this week with a large celebration throughout the city. Sratha thinks their union had something to do with the merging of the two nations. Her information isn’t cheap though as the party is required to donate some money to her temple.

However, their conversation is interrupted by shouts of danger as a section of the city is burning. They hurry outside and help various people, though Balasar is hesitant to help the tieflings of the city. The party tries to figure out who started the fire and realize it was not from natural causes, it was intended. While discussing, Jayden leaves for a moment to meet with a mysterious figure who tells of his problems with Stondylus. It seems this figure was somehow a part of the mercenaries who were hired by Stondylus to find one of the artifacts recently. Jayden thanks the man for the information and returns to the group. Thorin questions where he went but before they can discuss more they are arrested by the local militia. Balasar, along with the party is finally confronted for the various laws they broke. The group doesn’t go easily but a hulking brute dragonborn, Patrin Basharak, shows up and threatens to kill Balasar on the spot if they do not go quietly. They agree and are thrown in the Colosseum prisons where they wait for their judgement from the Scion of Bahamut.

They are put on Trial by combat: If Bahamut finds them innocent, they will win and be let go. Though a special rule has been made: all of the prisoners (around 50 or so) will be put on trial at the same time. The prisoners hear that Basharak’s Legion will be judging them and they begin to falter in their morale. So the heroes begin to cheer them up and guarantee their freedom after this fight. The morale is boosted with the helpful thought that Balasar is their to protect them.

They prepare for battle and Balasar begins to pray to Malakiy asking for strength. Malakiy says, “Do you really think this is the worst fight you will be in? When that happens, Pelor will give you the strength you need.”

Balasar makes his way to the Colosseum floor and finds 200 hundred dragonborn Midia-Urartu soldiers and Patrin ready to fight the criminals and the heroes of the Portal. Prince Enos, Princess Vasht, and Lord Abbadon are there in the king’s box (along with Leo in the crowd who was not charged). Lord Abbadon states their charges and asks Balasar if he is guilty. Balasar responds he is not guilty of the old law. Lord Abbadon says, “Then you are hereby judged by the Scion of Bahamut, may the gods of mercy on you.”

Their fight begins as a sphinx and a humongous ooze begings to kill many of the criminals on trial.

Chapter 49: Hard Decisions
10-7-13 session

Timespan: 2nd Work 5:1209

Once free of Asmodeus’ grips the heroes begin their investigation for the Looking Glass. After a hard fight, and many prayers to Pelor (in which he answered Gbaja when he fell into lava and had to get out), the group is victorious in finding the artifact and stopping the doppelgangers from killing their loved ones. But for their mirror images, Leo, Thorin, and Jayden had to redirect the power so that the doppelgangers would instead have to kill a different sentient creature on the Material Plane. Leo picked the Yuan-Ti head cleric of Zehir they faced long ago in Bochim. Jayden picked the undead elven king they recently met in the elven shrine since he just wanted to rest and be left alone. Thorin picked The Queen of Corsairs, feeling that a trial would just end with her being lynched regardless.

Asmodeus, upset that he lost the game banishes the heroes from his realm. The heroes find themselves returned safely to Resen at the Sundial Temple. The council of Pelor is there waiting for them: Gunnarr, Kyrynn, Nadalia, and the others who knew that the test was happening. They apologize for Asmodeus’ doing as that was not part of the test at all. But they are happy they are safe and wish to hear who should be the next Oracle from Gbaja. Gbaja gives full details of all the heroes being candidates. Leo, Jayden, and Thorin were his top three but he eventually narrowed it down to being Leonus Anima and made his decision with the warforged. The council, who were pleased with Gbaja’s decision look at one another. Gunnarr says, “It’s obvious we need to make sure the next Oracle can make tough decisions that is why we feel you have passed the test…Gbaja. It takes a level headed man to make such hard decisions and the Oracle will need to make such decisions. Will you take on the role as Oracle for Pelor?” Gbaja, stunned, by the sudden turn of events is first concerned with his orc brethren, who he is assured by the council they should be fine without him (the second test was also a test to see if his orc nation would be fine on their own, which it showed they would). Gbaja accepts humbly and a great celebration and ceremony is made that day for the new Oracle.

The heroes are glad to be a part of the celebration, but it is short lived as Shintaro tells the rest of the group that Delad is awake but doesn’t recognize any of them. They come to find that he has amnesia, thinking to be a 15 year old elf in a 40 year old body. The last thing he remembers is studying with Master Ryosuke in his private study. It seems the Time Transcendence method has started to affect Delad in his mind leaving him in a younger state though his body is still intact in it’s present time.

The group gives as much time for Delad to understand what has happened but it seems the young minded elf doesn’t care too much. He follows the group like a lost puppy finding his powers to be something out of fairy tale.

The group now leaves for the Midia-Urartu Capital to find one more artifact for Shintaro. They arrive there finding that much of the dragonborn population has died due to a severe disease called “Hell Fever.” The heroes begin to investigate the large city. They find that many people have rallied with The Final Four Scions of Midia rather than their own government due to the recent plague. The group decides to find Lady Sratha, head of the temple of Tiamat in the capital, and also one of the Scions of Midia.

After some time trying to find the temple covertly in the city, they find a large group of soldiers in front of the temple of Tiamat trying to calm an angry mob. The heroes find a secret entrance in the sewers that lets them enter the temple undetected.

Chapter 48: The Test Begins
9-20-13 session

Timespan: 2nd Work 4:1209 to 2nd Work 5:1209

After a few days of helping the troops of Frosthaven with the end of their war, the heroes notice that winter has finally ended in Frosthaven (late by a couple months). The dragons had a magical sway on the country and it is evident that spring has truly begun here in Frosthaven. Prince Celeborn (now King Celeborn) continues his clean up of his kingdom. The heroes are greeted warmly by Mama Foxx and she begins to hug Jayden (who doesn’t remember her at all). They ask her if Peren will be able to take any kind of leadership for his good work with the Rebel forces and she tells them that he won’t be able to since of his past with the House of the Gifted. They come to realize that Mama Foxx’s house is for gifted half-elves. It’s very common for half elves to be born with magical powers but, on top of that, for some strange reason, they are usually born with some kind of mental disability. Peren’s disability is a high-functioning OCD and it really only showed in small ways throughout his time as leader of the rebel force. But then there’s Jayden and his low functioning schizophrenia that made it hard for him to handle each day growing up unless he was with his “brother,” Crynaden. Mama Foxx is glad to hear the Sehanine songs they would sing when he was growing up still help him today with his mental health.

She asks if Jayden would like to meet his parents. He agrees with most of the heroes going with him. The next day they are about to start their travels when they find that Delad has gone into a state of “Time Transcendence.” Worried for him, Shintaro decides to take care of him while they travel to Jayden’s home.

They begin their travels without any real problems. Jayden seems to be off in his own state of mind as he flies with a now more powerful version of Ralph (Who can turn into a large griffon now under Jayden’s power). They come across a small mountain. A top is a small cottage where many small cages surround it. The sound of various birds echo throughout the valley. The heroes travel up the mountain to the cottage, greeted by the smell of a wood burning stove. An old human man barrels out of the front door as a dozen various birds fly out the door after him. “Ah, fine, I didn’t want to help you anyway!” the old man shouts. He curses the birds in elven underneath his breath until he realizes he has company. “Mama Foxx?” he greets her with a hug, “What are you doing out here? The dragons destroy your home? I told you to live out here, they barely ever come out-” She interrupts him, ‘Seravin, the dragons are dead, the war is over, Prince Celeborn has taken his father’s throne thanks to these heroes. Your son is one of them!’ as she points to Jayden. There’s a long pause as Seravin wipes his hands clean and puts on a pair of small spectacles, “Jayden?”

The reunion is awkward at first, Jayden is stand-offish but tries to learn about his home and father. Seravin is skeptical it’s him though. He remembered an 8 year old boy with severe schizophrenia when he gave him to Mama Foxx. Jayden, Seravin and the heroes begin to explore Jayden’s small home. Jayden begins to remember small things of his house: his room, his father’s writing, how he used to be a soldier for Lykovia who, after the war, retired here and eventually what happened to his mother, Lalani. The elven woman (from Lystra) was killed for being married to a human, only months after Jayden was born (Frosthaven is known for racial hatred for half-elves from both human and elven population). After Seravin buried her in the woods out back (with a shrine to Sehanine next to her grave), the two month old Jayden showed his first bit of magical power: he preserved her image so that her body would never age or deteriorate even after death. Seravin knew there was much power to Jayden, that is why he was so willing to let him become an apprentice for Stondylus. The theorist came to Seravin respectfully and paid him to let Jayden go under his tutelage. He agreed and gave him his sword, “Crynaden” to prove to Mama Foxx that this was a legit transaction. Stondylus showed up at Mama Foxx’s House of the Gifted when Jayden was 15 and was able to take Jayden with him. Seravin asks if Stondylus did a good job and if Crynaden was safe with Jayden now that he was old enough. Jayden avoids the truth and only tells him enough to satisfy him. With the family back together now, things were looking good for the heroes.

Until, at that moment in the woods, they are blinded by a bright light! Angels appear before them and begin to attack them. Gbaja asks Thorin, Leo, and Jayden what he should do. They each tell him to fight until Thorin realizes the angels are only attacking Thorin, Leo, Jayden, and eventually Gbaja when he started to attack them. One of the angels even says to Gbaja, “It is time.” The heroes try to reason with the angels but it seems they wish to hear a scripture. Jayden remembers a Pelorian scripture, recites it, and lays down his weapons. The other heroes do the same and then the angels of Pelor stop attacking.

Gbaja says, “That is the first test of the Oracle. The angels will now lead us to the second test to see who is fit to become the next Oracle of Pelor.” The other heroes are encouraged by the angels to help the candidates, so Balasar begrudgingly goes too.

They enter a portal that takes them to the country of Cush. The angels say, “This is the Test of Priorities. A tribe of orcs and elves are about to go to war. How would Pelor ask you to resolve this? Pelor is the god of healing, show us how you heal.” The angels disappear and Gbaja says he won’t say as much since he is a judge for them now.

The heroes find themselves on what appears to be a battlefield, many orcs and elves dead on the ground. They find the elven encampment and are welcomed with open arms as they are recognized for their heroic duties when they were in Cush long ago. They find this mainly archaeological camp wants to find an elven shrine to an ancient elven king named King Vencesllas. But the orcs are hording it.

The heroes then visit the orcs to find them getting ready for war. Balasar busts in with just his fists since these weak orcs (compared to his epic strength) can’t hurt him. The heroes intimidate the orcs as their leader, Jafar, is respectful to them and wishes to hear what they have to say. They try to make a peace treaty but want to see what this elven shrine is all about. The orcs say it’s a good hunting ground and that the elves tried to attack them while there. Vinkas, a lowly orc scout, was there in the first fight and accidentally shot too early causing the fight to escalate. Jafar explains Vinkas is being disciplined but the elves wish to go to war so they will retaliate.

The heroes are able to calm the orcs down and are able to search the elven shrine. Ancient traps from a shrine built many centuries ago hinder them but the party is able to enter the shrine. They find an undead king rise from his tomb, King Vencesslas himself. All he wishes is to sleep but the orcs and elves keep bothering his “bed.” Jayden explains the elves just wish to know what happened to him so he sheepishly admits his folly as a wizard: He was researching a powerful spell and it backfired on him, killing him. A heavy tablet holds the recordings of what happened, and so he gives it to the heroes as long as he will no longer be disturbed.

The group agrees to the terms and Jayden seals the ancient tomb with a powerful spell. Thorin recognizes it to be the same spell that was used to seal Stondylus in his old tower in the Glubroon Woods. The heroes take the tablet to the orcs but war is practically inevitable at this point. The heroes get Jafar to agree to talk before battle. The heores ask to bring the orc’s flag (golden circles being a consistent trend with the patterns of the flag) as a representation to talk before the war begins with the elves. The armies gather on the field while Gbaja is busy giving last rites to those who died in the previous skirmish. The negotiations are hard but Jayden, Thorin, and Leo are able to get the two nations to make peace: The elves will let the orcs have the hunting grounds that also holds the shrine as long as the elves can send a group to see what the shrine has. Jayden agrees to show them what they have found in the shrine, the elves begin to realize that this great elven king is not as special as they thought he was. At that moment Gbaja steps up to Jafar to reprimand him. The group realizes that the orcs were Gbaja’s own, their flag has hints of signs of Pelor within them. Gbaja was very nervous throughout the test as he realized the test must take precedence before taking care of his own people, so he disguised himself to not look like their leader and didn’t talk much. He was very happy to see the two nations getting along now and at that point, the angels return to take them to their next test. Though these angels seemed to talk a bit differently compared to the last ones. The heroes enter the angel’s portal regardless.

Fire, heat, and lava fill the air as the group steps through the portal: They have entered the Nine Hells. They find themselves on a rock island hovering above hot lava not only with themselves but an unconscious Delad and confused Shintaro next to him. It takes a moment for the characters to realize that something has gone terribly wrong to end up in a different plane. Gbaja seems most concerned as he looks to see a tall, horned, human-like man sitting in a chair with a hell hound next to him, growling at the confused party. The horned figure begins to smile and says, “Ah, it seem Asmodeus’ ‘angels’ have found you and brought you here to Asmodeus’ establishment.” He begins to laugh as the heroes begin to become forcefully compelled to bow before the Overlord of Baator himself, Asmodeus.

As the heroes struggle to gain a will of their own body, Gbaja yells, “What do you want foul beast?!” The evil god begins to pick up a small figurine piece that looks remarkably like Thorin and says, “Do you ever feel like you are part of large game that holds your lives in the balance from death and life?” The heroes look at the grid-like board and see figurines of themselves on the board.

Jayden says, “No! Why would we?”

Asmodeus continues, "Oh? Well, today Asmodeus is sure you will feel like that. You see, Asmodeus would love to play a game with you right now. Now that you are in Baator, there are clones of you all on your little home of Erryes. They look, act, smell, and feel like you in every way. And they are on their way as we speak to kill the ones you hold so dear to your heart. But you have a chance to stop them, Asmodeus is a god of fairness, you see. A gith artifact named “The Looking Glass” is somewhere near us right now giving the energy for these clones to act. If you find it and somehow stop the energy from working in time, then the clones will fall to the ground becoming the puppets they truly are. And then your loved ones will be safe."

“Why are you doing this?!” shouts Balasar.

“Why? Why?!” he rises up out of his seat as searing fire erupts around at his feet, “Asmodeus does not need a reason why, all that matters is Asmodeus is giving you a fair chance!” He calms down for a moment with a simple, “Ahem,” and continues, “Besides, Pelor has taken an interest in you and it seems it’s Asmodeus’ turn to test you in ways Pelor would never allow.” He turns to Gbaja, “So you should be thanking Asmodeus for such a wonderful test for your simple little Oracle.” He pauses and begins to set the figurines up, the characters find themselves free of the evil god’s mental grip on them and he smiles saying, “Now! Let’s begin our game!”

Chapter 47: Another War Over
8-19-13 session

Timespan: 2nd Work 2:1209 to 2nd Work 4:1209

The group continued to fight the dragons. Gbaja was sent flying into a wall and an avalanche of the cavern ice walls buries him. Jayden, realizing the fight is not going well, prays to Pelor out loud for the first time asking for help. The sun pierces the wintery clouds and lights up the cavern they are in as the sky is overhead. It temporarily blinds the dragons and gives the heroes an advantage.

More of Prince Celeborn’s soldiers come to help along with Shintaro and Delad, helping defeat the ice and storm archons while the other heroes enter the main chamber and fight the dragons along with Jayden and Leo. The dragons let out one last bellow as Jayden’s storm spells destroy them.

Another war is over and the heroes are able to find peace again. They are rewarded with anything they wish to have from the dragon’s lair of treasure, they recollect themselves and help with the remaining enemy troops for the next couple of days.

Chapter 46: Editor's Note
7-15-13 session

Timespan: Morning to night, 2nd Work 3:1209

Dear Balderk,

First of all, I just want to say how disappointed I am. Just when I thought we were bonding, you go and vanish in the middle of the night. I can only assume you’ve taken Yavish with you as well. Probably wise, but still, leaving me here with just Nord for company? I don’t know who that speaks worse of, me or Nord.

In any event, Nord and I decided to make the best of a bad situation (thanks for not leaving us any breakfast, by the way), and trekked off into the jungle to look for you. Judging by the tracks we found, someone (or rather, several someones) else found you first. Now I’ll be the first to admit, this didn’t exactly encourage Nord and I to pick up the pace; quite the opposite. Safety first, as I always say, and we felt rather justified in that policy when we avoided a run in with a pair of what appeared to be carnivorous apes. This really is a ghastly place, isn’t it?

Well, we only got lost once, and by nightfall we had reached the Pirate Camp, which turned out to be more of a Pirate Fortress. Three tall watchtowers, hemmed in by a nasty wall of briars. You’ll have to take my word when I say that we did intend to sneak in and rescue you, but we both agreed that if we had to make a hasty escape in the pirates’ flagship without you, we would. Of course, plans never seem to work out quite the way you draw them in the sand, and despite using a clever trick with a flaming arrow to cause a distraction, our ‘covert operation’ quickly turned into a full assault, as the closest tower spotted our approach and spears started flying towards us. Nord managed to hack his way through the hedge, and we soon found ourselves ducking in and out of huts, partially looking for you, partially looking for Doran, but mostly just trying not to get skewered by pirates.

Luck was on our side, though, as the second hut we passed contained piles of supplies and weapons, and the third contained Doran and no fewer than seven of his tribe members. I barred the door while Nord got to work freeing Doran and his friends. One of us was successful, anyway. With Doran and his kin’s aid, we rushed back into the fray, battling scores of the pirates. Nord apparently cut down a nasty shifter witch doctor who seemed to be in league with the pirates, but we didn’t take the time to ask questions. The last thing I remember was rushing into yet another hut, only to see yet another group of pirates… and then it all went dark…

Fortunately, whatever Nord and Doran poured down my throat fixed that. Apparently our newfound friends managed to rout the last of the pirates, and we finally had a chance to catch our breath, do some light reading, that sort of thing. Oh that’s right… I also found one of the pirate’s journals. Yes, his entries were much more interesting than yours are. His grammar was better, too.

Anyway, the tribesmen started going on about a cave, and a collapsed tunnel, and how the fact that no one had seen you or the pirate captain yet probably pointed to him having dragged you and Yavish down there before collapsing the tunnel to cover his escape. Some pretty circumstantial evidence, if you ask me, and Nord and I thought long and hard about just taking the pirate ship (that was what we came for in the first place, right?), and being on our way. Still though, those natives were insistent, and Nord pointed out that we probably wouldn’t be able to crew the ship just the two of us.

All of that to say, if we find you alive down in that cave, you’d better be appreciative!

Editor (Caelynn)

Chapter 45: The Truth of Crynaden
6-22-13 session

Timespan: 1st Work 27:1209 to 2nd Work 2:1209

Back in Frosthaven, the heroes of the Portal gather the rebel armies of Frosthaven in order to prepare for their continued attack on the dragon siblings. They take the day to prepare and find out from Peren that the royal lineage of Frosthaven still lives. Prince Celeborn, rightful heir to Frosthaven’s throne, has amassed an army in his favor and has asked to meet with Peren and his rebel forces now that the dragons’ armies are running scared. Peren agreed as long as the heroes help in their negotiations.

The heroes help the army prepare for a final attack on the dragon siblings. They march 3 days to the lair of the dragons where Celeborn’s forces have also set up camp. Jayden is met in his tent by Blue Hilt. Blue Hilt explains there is a way to get into the dragon’s lair, though only a few can go in secretly. He asks for Jayden’s assistance in order for their armies to enter the 2nd main gate from within the mountain. He agrees only if he tells him who he is. Blue Hilt reveals his appearance, as it’s a mirror image of Jayden. It turns out to Jayden that his brother, Crynaden, has been Blue Hilt for the past 15 years here in Frosthaven. He explains that he escaped from Stondylus’ stronghold but couldn’t save Jayden. He says he will tell him more once the war is over. Jayden then proceeds outside of the army camp and slinks off to the side of the mountain. Leo and Gbaja see Jayden and follow him to the side of the mountain. Ralph is sent by Jayden to tell Thorin what he’s doing. Ralph does so though seems a bit concerned for Jayden.

Thorin and Balasar are asked by Peren to help with the meeting with the Prince. The two heroes meet with the Prince and his bodyguard/right hand man, Rin. After some tough conversations, the heroes are able to get Peren and Celeborn working together. They prepare for their fight with the dragons’ armies.

Meanwhile, Jayden finds Leo and Gbaja and they go inside together, the half-elf tells them of the secret entrance (Jayden recognizes the area to be a place where he and his brother often played together). They sneak inside while the battle begins outside. Unfortunately the 3 heroes stumble upon the actual lair of the dragons while traveling through the secret tunnel. They are captured and are tortured by Exarzellian and Kurikveaeri.

During this time, Jayden sees his brother, Blue Hilt/Crynaden come out of the shadows and proceeds to attack the dragons. The dragons are unable to stave off Blue Hilt and Jayden’s attacks and when things seem to turn around for them Jayden begins to see Blue Hilt melt in front of him.

At this moment as well, the war continues outside. Thorin, Rin, and Balasar work their way up to the front of the ranks and find a group of prisoners that were taken by the dragon’s armies. One among them is Mama Foxx. Peren is excited to see her and acts almost child-like when seeing her. She calms him down with a prayer to Sehanine that they both begin to sing together. He calms down and the heroes begin to see that the other half-elves that were among Peren’s group from the orphanage seem to all have some kind of mental handicap (Peren’s seems to be Asperger syndrome as he was arguing very loudly with the Prince during their negotiations). Thorin tells her that Jayden is inside trying to help them in their fight. She asks if Jayden still talks to Crynaden anymore. They say no and look quite confused. Mama Foxx says, “You see, Jayden was with me when he was a small child and he always had this problem of ‘talking’ to his twin brother. But Crynaden was never real, Jayden has something we know as ‘Schizophrenia.’ He has hallucinations and hears voices that aren’t there.” Thorin, very worried for his friend, begins to look through the caves for him.

Gbaja and Leo look to their companion and realize he is talking gibberish at this point. Jayden had not escaped the clutches of the dragons and he incoherently babbles about how Blue Hilt will save them while being crushed by the dragon’s claws. Jayden’s schizophrenia has reawakened now that he has returned to Frosthaven. With some clever thinking the other two are able to get the two dragons to argue with each other and they are able to slip out of the dragons grasp. The two are able to start a real fight with the dragons while Jayden tries to come out of his own world in his head. For some reason though, the half elf hears a song in the distance of his mind, a recognizable one that Mama Foxx used to sing him when his hallucinations would get back. Jayden is able to snap out of his own delusions.

Chapter 44: Turtle Island and Levi
4-20-13 session

Timespan: 2nd Work 1:1209 to 2nd Work 3:1209

Dear Diary,

Plans have changed.

A rather severe storm has delayed our departure. Another freak storm out of nowhere? Sometimes, it feels like the weather here is down to a roll of the dice.

We made a rather damp camp a mile or so inland – Kord (Nord -editor) insisted we haul our gear an entire mile before bedding down.

This night would’ve been fairly uneventful if not for our chance meeting with a friendly dinosaur. I’m pretty sure he stared me directly in the eye before stomping off into the jungle…Perhaps he wasn’t hungry, or perhaps the smell of our bard soiling himself drove it away.

The next day our journey began with us sailing west – as none of us are what you’d call Experienced Navigators, we promptly sailed off course. We befriended a sea turtle who guided us west towards a bed of oysters – decent eating, but I’m more interested in the giant pearls we found. Maybe I’ll get to do some weapon crafting on this journey…

We also met some freakishly enormous aquatic snakes. This place sucks. We camped on an old volcano we have named Turtle Island. Another interesting day…

Woke up on Turtle Island…we’ve found evidence that someone was here, attempting to build a lighthouse, but then…left suddenly. Sometime within the last year, we think. Judging by the way everything else has gone in this terrible place, I’m just operating under the assumption they were eaten by something unpleasant.

We set our canoes westward under the guidance of our turtle, who then wandered off to do..I don’t know, whatever it is they do. I’m not really that familiar with marine zoology. We saw a pirate longboat coming at us on the horizon, and they did not look happy to see us. The bard and I knocked a few of them into the ocean with our arrows before they rammed us – thinned them out rather nicely, and it would’ve been a quick clean fight if they hadn’t decided to introduce us to their friend Levi, who had five heads but now has six. Levi, it turns out, did not like us very much (I must add, hydras are scary! -editor)

We traded boats with the pirates, hastily christened our new ride the X-For-Now, and buggered off under Kord-powered (Nord -editor) rowing. Talk about drunken strength…here we are, on the far side of the world, and this guy’s acting all ‘Master and Commander’ on us. At least he’s useful.

At this point, we’ve been stabbed and bitten and shot and bludgeoned by both man and beast, we’ve rowed under the sun and we’re exhausted. We’re injured, totally deprived of energy, have expended our magical abilities, and drained our reserves of healing. The group decided to make camp at Turtle Island, rather than breach the home of the unknown number of vicious pirates while incapable of fighting.

Kord (I give up! -editor), at this point, hijacks our ship, renames it ‘Stormbreaker,’ and forced us to press on towards pirate territory at great risk to life and face. Mutiny was strongly considered…Instead, we slept in the jungle and plotted piracy of our own.

The mosquitoes are so bad, they’ve woken us up. I’m going to finish restocking my arrows and get some sleep.


Chapter 43: Shipwrecked
3-30-13 session

Timespan: 1st Work 27:1209 to 1st Work 28:1209

Meanwhile, another group of adventurers begin their travels in the Country of Cush as well:

Travelers board Captain Merle’s ship bound for Kinsmet, leaving a port on the north side of the country of Cush. They all have their own reasons for being on board and leaving Cush and it seems there will be no problems for them getting there. That is, until the storm rolls in.

From the Diary of Balderk:

Dear Diary,

Plans have changed.

The goal of traveling to Kinsmet, setting out, and starting over has been put on hold by some minor shipwreck-related difficulties (Don’t forget the eerie noise on the sea, that really frightened me -editor). My previous journal, along with everything else, was lost in the aftermath, so I guess I’ll be starting that over, too. Fine. Erase everything from before, and take up a new name to go with my quest. On with it, eh?

I’ve landed on a strange island with some even stranger companions. I’m not sure how I feel about them yet – the human, Kord or Nord or Russel or some such, reeks of booze. Now, I don’t have anything against some good boozing, but if you combine that with his overt racism towards shifters and we could potentially be getting into a little trouble if we actually found any shifters. Oh, wait. This island’s mainly inhabited by shifters. Huzzah for drunken diplomacy. Anyhow, something is familiar about him. I’m pretty sure I saw him on stage in Cush once…

We’ve got a bard with some girly elvish name (It’s Caelynn by the way -editor) who seems to be terrified of, well, everything so far. Not a bad sort, though, and he’s got a decent sense of humor. I’ll keep him around…gonna need someone to write all this down someday for posterity.

There’s an Eladrin, too, named Yavish. Can’t quite figure that guy out…Gonna have to keep an eye on him til I can get a bearing on him.

Our first day on the island went by quickly. We stumbled across an old cave and found a map, a box, and an old book of ramblings about life on the island (it was from a person referred to as “K.S.” -editor). The box had a creepy idol in it, which Kord (Nord -editor) smashed into bits. Right, That’s likely to win us friends and influence people. I buried it in the cave on the off chance that someone big with lots of teeth comes asking about it someday. Temper, temper.

The map led us to some tribal village called Tomaluvy ( Tanaroa -editor) or something..the place seemed to be run by a miserly old witch named Mira of the Hawk. Now, before you think me unkind, dear diary, let me qualify that rather unflattering description: this witch knows some guy named Duran Duran (I believe it’s just “Doran” -editor) who’s been captured by murderous pirates – a whole Island worth of murderous pirates – and she’ll only help us get out of here if we go take on the entire fleet of pirates ourselves – THE FOUR OF US – and bring back her brother alive (you have admit, she did perceive us as prophesied heroes to help them -editor). But it’s okay, because she’s going to be granting us a terrific boon to help us accomplish our quest: A canoe. A freaking canoe. Thanks, ya cheap old witch…

We headed south to find another village in hopes of receiving more aid. Though scenic, the inhabitants were less welcoming. Summary of negotiations: We killed 8 of them before they could eat us, and we buggered off. That was quite a day…I will admit, though, that this island is getting interesting. I heard a rumor of a massive ancient ruined city farther inland…it could be just waiting for occupants! More later. Gotta set up camp before the elf decides to sleep in a tree again…


Chapter 42: The End of the Letter
2-11-13 session

Timespan: 1st Work 26:1209

The group explored the vault, finding many traps that would deny them access. But they were able to bypass them, and access the large pile of silver bars that made up the treasure. The Locksmith began to search through the silver bars but claimed to not find the specific treasure he was looking for (though Siv saw him pocket something). They shoved the silver down the water drain inside the vault that emptied into a cavern below.

Once done, the group (unable to get down the drain themselves) begins to go out the door they came in. It turns out that the power Blue Hilt cast earlier was not only one of protection but also an illusion to others who would look upon the spell’s effects. No one was there to “greet” them. A few of the mercenaries climb up the chimney while the remainder tries to sneak out through the courtyard. With the help of the local militia from the village, they began to cause a riot at the gates of Tanlan’s estate getting the attention of a majority of the soldiers inside. The party begins their escape over the wall to get to the cavern and claim their prize. They fight a few remaining soldiers and “Fissure” is almost knocked out from the fight. Locksmith attacks him saying he will only slow them down. The party begins to fight amongst themselves, Longcoat and The Prince taking the Locksmith’s side. The remainder begins to attack the Locksmith who doesn’t seem phased that he is about to die. Locksmith is killed by the party but, in the mean time, the Prince slinks off and makes a getaway from the group. At that moment, the group begins to have a massive headache and hear the voice in their heads of the Locksmith say, “The Locksmith, you obviously know, is just an alias. You see, since I don’t know my past that well, names have been hard for me to hold onto for long periods of time. I’ve gone by many names in the past: Master Janum, Dyluck, Thrull, Emperor Rallis, Councilman Horatio Pashin, to name just a few. But many know me by my common name, the great theorist: STONDYLUS!” A ghost rises from the body of the Locksmith, and the only physical object he holds is a ring in his finger. “I needed some fools to fetch me this artifact of the Tabula Rasa for me, so thank you for your help, I’ll be leaving now.” Siv and Fissure try to stop him while Longcoat begins to run away. Fissure is mortally wounded and Siv begins to question the ghost instead of attack. She asks “What does this all mean? Why am I here?” Stondylus says, ‘It is ok, my child. Please, Hulda, come to me my daughter and I will take care of you and show you meaning in your life.’ Siv/Hulda embraces the arms of the ghost and the ghost vanishes inside the vampire, leaving the ring on Siv’s hand. Fissure, not seeing the possession, begins to attack the ghost but refrains upon seeing only the girl. This was a grave mistake as his arm withers off his body from her attack, now fully possessed by the ghost as it seems. With his shield arm gone, some of the group takes notice that his shield once had the insignia of Sehanine of it, as in it once belonged to a knight of Sehanine. The rest of the group, seeing the raw power of this ghost, runs away. Blue Hilt turns back to see Stondylus/Hulda say, “Any last words, Jacob?” as he/she looks down at the dragonborn. “Fissure”/Jacob spits at the ghost and says, “Not for you!” and the ghost kills the barbarian. The love song of Sehanine can be heard on the wind that night as Jacob left this world; whether it was him singing it or not is still debated by the surviving mercenaries to this day.

The remaining group are able to sneak off of Tanlan’s estate without taking notice from the remaining militia. They rest in the woods that night and go to find the treasure that put Lord Tanlan out of business. They found a note with some of the bars missing from “The Prince” saying, “I took my share of the treasure, let us never speak of last night. If we see each other again in the future, I will go out of my way to ignore you and continue on in my travels and I hope you do the same.”

Longcoat and Bluehilt take their cut and go their separate ways as well. Lord Tanlan’s tyranny ended as the militia dispersed and he was imprisoned for his actions. Hulda/Stondylus was last seen heading North East on the road with the ring in her/his hand.

Timespan: 1st Work 27:1209

Many miles away in Frosthaven, the heroes of the portal finish reading the letter from Kyrynn which states at the end, “The good news is that Stondylus contacted us today. He said he found the missing artifact that we were looking for for you. A ring from the chancellor of King Quang Ziu. The bad news is he has it in his possession saying that once the heroes get the other 2 artifacts, he will accompany them to the portal. Stondylus seems to have duped some mercenaries into stealing it with him in the country of Cush, a small village called Elderwood. Poor suckers, don’t know who they were messing with…I’m sorry for letting him get the upper hand. This is my fault and I will do the best I can with the Keepers to try and find him. I swear it, for Pelor and the good of all of Erryes.”

Chapter 41: The Inner Keep
1-14-13 session

Timespan: 1st Work 26:1209

During the fire, the group sneaks into the inner keep using the pendant they took from Fermina that magically opens the door. They begin to explore the inner keep coming across a few higher ups of Tanlan’s: Thorsk (half-orc), Gaheel (half-elf), and Olos (halfing), all captains of various companies within Tanlan’s troops. The group is pincered from various rooms inside the keep but are able to take them down. They try to interrogate Olos but are too brutal with him and he dies from their harsh treatment. The group begins to frantically find the secret door to get inside the vault and come across Tanlan’s insignia ring and the secret door that was underneath the stuffed bear statue. Suddenly, the group hears the sounds of soldiers and the ogre coming inside the keep. Blue Hilt helps the group by using a special magic ring that freezes the doors and walls around them shielding them from the enemy (though they will need to find a new exit after getting the treasure it seems). Blue Hilt uses a very powerful arcane rune in order to use the magic item. Once protected, the group proceeds down the stairs to the vault’s doors underneath Tanlan’s estate.


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