Four Fables

Chapter 11: The Anima Revolution
5-17-10-session

Timespan: 3rd Work 23:1208 to 2nd Rest 15:1208

The medusa told the party of how her family has been suffering as of late. A lamia and her henchmen from the desert of the south (Bakka) had moved in to the Medusa’s hunting grounds. The Medusa agreed to leave the party alone and leave their supply line alone if they were to get rid of the lamia. The party agreed and, in order, to make sure they upheld their bargain, they were injected with a strange poison from the silver snakes that she had. They were told they only had a few hours before the poison would kill them and they would get the antidote upon completing their task.

The party trudged through the mountains and came upon a deserted, ancient dwarven city that was occupied by the lamia. They entered her building forcefully and fought her. Upon her death the medusa gave the party the antidote and even received magical help through the snake bites (everyone received a “tattoo of shared vengeance”). The medusa, however, did not help the party after that in anyway.

With the supply line cleared, the war could truly begin, especially with new allies joining their forces. Each of the characters became generals of the army and they led a five month campaign across all of Kinsmet, tactically taking over each state. In the process the people who were petrified in the mountains by the supply line were saved and cured by using the blood of the medusa they fought earlier (as she didn’t like the new troops in her hunting grounds).

The war was tough on many of them. Delad, who found that the poison that they suffered while in the mountains had made his scar on his back bigger than before, had made him more quiet up until the war started. What was truly disturbing was the fact that after the first week of the war, Delad went MIA during one of the battles in the State of Dordare. His body has never shown up and he is still considered missing 5 months later.

The control of all of Kinsmet has been going well and now leads the group to their final battle in the state of Rydelle.

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Chapter 10: War Council and the Angel's Message
4-26-10 session

Timespan: 3rd Work 13:1208 to 3rd Work 23:1208

The group, now covered in blood and rain, look at each other in case another fight might break out with Leo and his men. The question was asked: Will the group aid Leo and go back to his encampment or will they continue to follow Rallis’ men?

Balasar Zavari gives his opinion by saying he is noble so he doesn’t like the idea of lying to the king by disguising Leo, however he understands the situation calls for a good strategy and that just may be it. Balasar has decided that he will side with Leo over the king and will protect/fight for Leo should it come to that. He feels that if there is even the slightest chance that Emperor Rallis could be Stondylus then he should not be trusted, at least not completely. Lately he is also struggling with trusting authority because of his past experience with his own men and country turning against him. He is starting to believe that if things do not change and the emperor keeps making suspicious treaties a rebellion just might be what is needed. And who better to lead that rebellion than Leo. However, this is getting ahead. At the immediate moment he wants to head back to Leo’s hide out to form and plan and possibly dry off.

Jayden is not shy and does not mind bluntly stating his opinions. He does not like being tricked or led into a trap, and although he is okay with Leo now, he is still angry at being led into an ambush. At this point he would really like to find out what is going on with the Emperor. It appeared that the Emperor was telling them the truth (or at least he himself thought he was). So if there is any chance at all that Stondylus is possessing the Emperor he would want to find that out as soon as possible. Whatever path leads to finding this out – Jayden would support. Jayden (like Thorin, he believes) is also getting worried about the final confrontation with Stondylus. As to how the group may be able to either destroy him finally or contain his spirit. Jayden is trying to discover a ritual for this… but if Leo’s people have some technology to help with this (for example trapping Stondylus in a Warforged shell, etc.) he would be up for investigating that as well. With all that being said, Jayden still has sworn a life-debt to Thorin, so will ultimately follow Thorin’s lead wherever that may be.

Kaori Shintaro is aware that Leo is a student of history, and is in a position of power at least similar to that of the Emperor. He has no great love for Rallis, again resenting the test of his language skills and all that, and the hiding of his own ability to speak Supernal, and feels much more inclined to work with Leo given his openness and seemingly good intentions. However, he is pragmatic, and wants to be sure that he’s aligning himself with someone capable of furthering his own personal interests, especially given the size of the enemy he’d potentially be making in the meantime.

“I will help you in your bid to thwart this Emperor Rallis, and will do what I can to prevent him from gaining whatever it is that he seeks, but I require your aid as well. First, I want access to your knowledge of history and your aid in researching whatever I may need. Second, I want your support, both physically and materially, in traveling to find and in obtaining a specific group of artifacts, once we manage to track them down. My only interest in the Emperor’s offer was the chance of doing just that under his patronage, and I hope that you can offer me the same to deny him the service. I’m sure you can understand the value of our working together on this… whether or not he realizes it, this Rallis may be on to something greater than us all, and I assure you that I don’t want him harnessing that power any more than you do. So do we have an agreement?”

Leo looks at Shintaro’s question and says, “If I am to aid this quest, I must be convinced of its just ends. For what purpose do you seek these artifacts? We’ve learned first-hand what mischief results from keeping secrets. Let this brotherhood forge a bond of honesty and trust that may save the world!"

The monk, Delad, having been meditating in a corner this entire time, speaks up without opening his eyes. There is no malice in his voice, only mild skepticism. “Honesty and trust, you say? This from the one whose secrets caused the mischief in question. One might suggest that such honesty would have served us all better before the attempted assassination of a world leader threw all of us into danger…ah well. Nothing can be done about the past, I suppose. Nonetheless, regardless of the origins of our Rallis predicament, a predicament we have. Although there is certainly more pressing business to attend to, I do not foresee Rallis as the type to forgive and forget; I’d rather deal with him now than have him pop up at some inopportune time and interfere with…future pursuits. An acorn is more easily dealt with than an oak, as Master Ryosuke was fond of saying.”

Though his eyes remain closed, his brow furrows slightly. “Another thing my master liked to say was that trust is broken quickly as an egg cracks, but built as slowly as it hatches. I have no concern for Shintaro’s secrets as far as they do not pertain to our quest; Nor, Leo, do I have concern for your misgivings about him. I advise we eliminate Rallis as a potential future obstacle, and we do it with either, both, or neither of these two outsiders. If they wish to gain our trust, they may come along and assist. If they would rather bicker and barter, they are a delay not worth enduring.”

One eye opens beneath an arched eyebrow. “All that aside, I don’t enjoy bleeding for longer than I have to, So I’ll follow wherever our dear Cleric decides to lead. The choice is yours, Thorin.”

Lightning-blue eyes flash angrily at the serenely seated elf from Leo, “I’d think your trust would have hatched when I saved your hide from the Underdark, or over the months that I’ve been risking my life to help you all on your quest!”

His bluster passes like a storm, his visage of strength falls away, revealing a man worn down by grief, responsibility and exhaustion. Sighing, he looks pleadingly to his comrades, “I do not blame you for your suspicion, as my actions of late appear that of an outsider. I did not involve you in my ‘predicament’ precisely to keep you out of this present danger. I did not expect to leave Geshur alive, and hold little hope of defeating Rallis’ army now. I see now, that I should have allowed my friends to choose for themselves.”

Slumping on a tree stump with his head in his hands, the companions notice how young he really is (18 now), a scared boy with the weight of many on his shoulders, “My father, Braivemor Anima and I parted with harsh words, and when I heard he was killed, I was overcome with guilt, but it has fallen to me to carry on in the defense of our people now that the Duke is gone.”

Leo conveniently draws his sight to an acorn next to him on the ground. He picks it up and, remembering himself, he stands; the air of royalty again gracing his chiseled jaw line, “An acorn before an oak, you say. If Rallis is really Stondylus, as I believe, then he may be at the very core of your quest. Neither do I doubt that our meeting Shintaro is coincidental. He is one of a handful of people on the planet who understands Supernal, and is searching for the very same artifacts as Stondylus.” Turning to Shintaro, he offers a hand to shake (even though he’s in tiger form), ‘I will aid you in your quest, trusting that you will reveal any information you deem relevant in your own timing, and I pledge the friendship of Rydelle until such a time as I am convinced your quest does evil to my people, my companions or to the world.’ With a slight smile, he adds, “At least let us outsiders stand together.”

Shintaro pauses, considering the warlord’s outstretched hand. He shifts into his shifter form, and for a moment almost seems like he is about to launch into some sort of tirade, but manages to check himself, and slowly extends his hand to shake with Leo. As they shake hands, for a brief moment he appears slightly less wild and defensive then the group has seen him before, and as he speaks he almost matches Leo’s nobility, “If that is indeed what Rallis is searching for. We shall see. But our meeting was not by chance, I agree. So I accept your offer, and the friendship of Rydelle, and in return I offer my own assistance and the friendship of Lau Jahnan.” As he releases Leo’s hand, the air of nobility is gone, and once more in character, he sneers “Until such a time when we are convinced that we do evil to one another.”

Shifting back into his tiger form he paces for a moment before settling down on his haunches and says, “With that out of the way, we still must decide what we plan to do next, and time runs short, the Emperor will be expecting us. Do we carry out his charade and attempt to learn what we can, or flee into the countryside to fight a war that we surely cannot win?”

Almost as an afterthought, he adds. “Oh yes… and who is this Stondylus you all keep carrying on about?”

After cleaning themselves up, Leo looks at Thorin out of desperation and asks, “My family has been faithful servants of Pelor for a hundred generations, many of them clerics and paladins. My father cared more about Pelor than with his children. How could Pelor allow the horrible things that have come to our family? My mother was taken by a horrible disease when we were still young. Our good king was replaced by this possessed monster and my father died by dragon bile (the most painful poison imaginable). Is that the reward Pelor gives to his followers, or is he just too weak to protect them? Why doesn’t he step in and help this world in peril?

Thorin, as if a million miles away, shakes his head and brings his attention back to Leo and says, “Leo, I understand that you are hurt and angry but don’t let the faith and service of your parents die with them. That would be a crushing blow to all that they lived for and devoted themselves to. You knew to remember that Pelor is good and he will do right by his servants. He is also the god of time. Everything needs to happen in its time. Just as the sun marks times as it journeys its designated path across the sky. So we all, including your parents, journey our designated paths. Just like when you grow crops—some produces a harvest and some wither too soon. Our lives end in tragedy or in joy but there is always the harvest of the greater good being produced. Remember, Pelor is good. He is the god of the summer. It might seem like winter to you right now but summer is coming. You need to give Pelor time. I believe, I must believe, that he will bring your family justice. We may be chosen to be those agents of justice. Please, grant Pelor and us the faith and the time to see that justice.”

Thorin shifts gears fluently from caring priest to decisive leader as he address the rest of the group, “I would like to confront Emperor Rallis as soon as possible but I do not think we should rush in like fools. If there is any chance Stondylus is involved, we need to be as prepared as possible. I do not wish to see him escape justice again to corrupt other kingdoms and destroy other lives. I believe we should go with Leo to assess the situation and our strengths. We need to be magically prepared if possible. Yes, we need to confront Rallis very soon but I think we should try to strategize as quickly as possible. We run the risk of being declared enemies of the kingdom if found with Leo but they have not proven to be our strongest friends.”

Looking to Thorin’s guidance, the party decides to side with Leo and follow him back to his headquarters, in Dunerth. They take their two captives, Mearah and Ophel, and throw them in the jail.

Leo is greeted by his generals and is told that there is a General’s meeting happening that he needs to attend to. Thorin and Shintaro go with him and attend.

Olaf is a general there, so is Abana, Chezib, and Magnus (all who the characters have just met).

They find out a couple things: Rothia, who went with Leo to Kinsmet is protecting their headquarters from many warforged scouts that have been trying to see what is happening in their village. Also, they tell them their supply line for food and equipment from their accomplices from the south has been cut off recently. And if nothing is done about it immediately, they will have to disband the whole army.

The group also finds that Magnus and his scouting troop came across the Animus’ estate before leaving Rydelle as it was being severely searched for the revolutionary army. Many of the eladrin’s men and women who were with him died getting the magic items from the tombs of Animus. One of them is marked with ancient script and Shintaro claims it is of The Kingdom of Lau Jahnan and asks to have it. Leo agrees and gives the rest of the magic items each to one of the party members.

Leo and Thorin decide that the next morning they should travel down and find out what’s causing the problems for the supply line.

During the meeting, Jayden, Balasar, and Delad begin to interrogate the twin brothers, Mearah and Ophel. Mearah is compliant with their demands but Ophel, upon seeing his predicament, decides to kill himself by blowing himself up with what the party guesses is a pre-made ritual. His body lays in ruins as his brother watches in horror and begins to cry. Jayden insists he tells them everything and he agrees as long as he can bury his brother properly. The party agrees and Mearah tells them everything he knew. Nothing in particular is said other than the fact that Emperor Rallis was going to reward them like he promised for completing their job. Mearah says the reason they attacked the party was because it was the orders of the emperor to take care of the party if they don’t comply with their orders as the emperor didn’t want to take any chances with the party since he knew they were old friends of Leo. Rallis said to the party before that he was willing to let them talk to Leo but only when Leo was captured and taken into custody so that he goes through the proper trials.

Afterward, the group helps Mearah with the burial of his brother right outside the gates of Dunerth. To everyone’s surprise, Leo asks for forgiveness from Mearah and proceeds to let him go and let’s him do whatever he wants (within reason) in their village HQ. Mearah and the rest of the group are quite astonished and Mearah is left in silence. That night he stays at his brother’s grave and is then seen the next morning in town just as a neutral visitor.

The party then travels south to the Aglecairn Mountains to find out what stopped their supply line. They enter the tunnel that connects parts of the Underdark and what gets through to the desert to the south. Along the tunnel there are various ways to go to get to different dwarf, gnome, and halfling villages. The party comes across a deserted halfling village. The only info. they can get is that they gathered their things in time (not in a hurry) and left in almost a uniformed fashion (single file). Thorin suggested it might have been the warforged who gathered and captured them.

In the deserted town the group came across a trashed temple of Pelor. Graffiti made by the warforged was written all over it with tipped over furniture and broken glass everywhere. Thorin says he can’t go any further until he fixes this temple up. So a majority of the party helps while the others explore the rest of the town and keep watch (as the major road passes through the center of town).

Upon finishing the clean up, an angel appears before the whole group in front of the temple gates and gives them a message:

The Proclamation of Malakiy

The group, bewildered, talks of their recent accusations. No one is able to clearly say who is of what color so they continue past the town further south to ponder over these ominous words.

A few miles further they come across stone statues of people along with abandoned carts. They are then attacked by snake men and a medusa. The group is able to defeat almost all of the enemies, and when things seem to be going their way, Balasar is turned to stone by the medusa along with Leo.

The medusa then says, “Sheathe your blades. If you wish to save your friends, you must complete a task for me. I am desperate.”

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Chapter 9: The Island of Rhodantus
3-22-10-session

Timespan: 2nd Work 21:1208 to 3rd Work 13:1208

After the ship sank and the party rescued Emperor Rallis’ personal chest, the party swam to the shores of the new island. They figured out that it was the small, shifter-populated Island of Rhodantus.

They explored the jungle and found a speaking tiger, by the name of Kaori Shintaro. He was able to help the group find the port of Mirovan to get the emperor and his men back to Kinsmet. They also learned that their new “friend” was a shifter druid who seemed to have two personalities depending on when he was in his tiger form or his humanoid form. One great aspect of the tiger form was that he is one of only a few dozen people in the world that can speak Supernal, the language of the gods.

With this said talent, the emperor was able to strike a deal with Shintaro and asked him to translate an artifact from his personal chest. This orb is an artifact from the time of the Tabula Rasa. Other than many numbers written on it, the only real phrase worth translating was, “Sehanine has power over all the portals on Erryes.”

Shintaro tells the group that he is a bit of an outcast from his tribe of shifters on the island. The island itself is quite old in history (refer to The Kingdom of Lau Jahnan).

After revealing the fact that the Emperor also speaks supernal (he learned from Master Janum he said), he convinces Shintaro to join him in his council in order to translate more artifacts that he has found from the times of the Tabula Rasa. Shintaro agrees (his payment was to be made on a later date he asked) and ventures with the group to the main land via ship from the port of Mirovan.

The group reaches Shimron and the emperor and his men join with other soldiers of his. After rewarding the party, he tells them he will give them an emperor impostor who they will “protect” as there has been talk of revolution in his country and many people don’t like him. He takes one road leading southeast while the party goes southwest through the mountains of Corgin’s Bane. They are told to meet with his council in Brielle in a few days.

They travel through the mountains and come across a violent storm in the night. While traveling, the impostor king is killed by a dark-clad knight who summons a few human mages and some orcs to help fight the group. Mearah and Ophel, who were with the group, try to rescue the impostor king but cannot. The party fights the mysterious outlaw assassin and in the midst of battle, the dark knight’s helmet falls off and when Delad attacks him to knock him out, he sees through the flash of the lightning storm that the knight is actually their old friend, Leo.

The shadar-kai tell the group to kill him but they refuse. Then the shadar-kai attempt to kill the group but are subdued by the party. Leonus gets up after being healed by his orc and human friends and begins to explain his situation: His father, Braivemor Anima, was killed by the Emperor and the emperor has named himself emperor over all of Kinsmet when no other country asked him to. He says that some kind of demon is possessing him to hinder his judgment (as he was a kind ruler before) and with the help of his father’s goggles that let him see when one is possessed, he found that the emperor was possessed and attempted to kill him in Geshur after finding out the horrible news of his father’s murder.

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Chapter 8: New Bodyguards
2-22-10 session

Timespan: 1st Work 27:1208 to 2nd Work 21:1208

Balasar and Jayden were in quite the pickle: Their friend that they thought they could trust just attempted to kill the emperor of a nation. They did notice a couple things though: the name Braivemor Anima was mentioned by Leo who is a political leader of Kinsmet. They recognized a warforged was with Leo, which are a rare sight to see on the west side of the continent. But one was seen a few weeks ago, asking about a man named Leonus Anima. No one had ever heard the name, but someone told him to try the city of Lystra. Leo was also wearing a strange set of magical goggles on his head as they noticed him fleeing the scene. Balasar and Jayden left the scene as quickly as possible so they could inform the rest of their group.

During that time, Master Ryosuke came out of his coma and was able to talk to his student. He was glad to see at least one of his students survived. He wanted to see how Delad was doing, hence why he sent those psionically-linked messages to him. Ryosuke discovered that the prophecy translation he had was wrong. It wasn’t, “The one with the mark will show the way to the gods,” but it was actually “The one with the mark will show the way for the gods.” (hence the dream with the numbers 2 and 4 in it).

Master Ryosuke said, “This means that we won’t be able to contact the gods but they will affect us on the Material Planes.” When Thorin mentions that Stondylus’ “Great Theory” seems to be coming true, Ryosuke recognizes the name as being a great theorist of Erryes who has published numerous books, including his theory of Entropy.

Master Ryosoke then asks Delad if he remembers when he was last infected with a disease. Delad recollects his time back in the first few chapters where the Burning Plague almost claimed his life. He remembers that Master Ryosuke had contacted him and told him of what Stondylus had been doing lately in that area and that he should stop him in case he does something horrible again. During that time, it turns out that Delad’s mark on his back had gotten larger. When he left the monastery a couple years ago it was the size of a thimble but once he was infected, it grew to the size of a fist. Ryosuke says that if he were to get sick again it will grow even larger. Delad didn’t think this was such a problem until Ryosuke explained that his mark is like a gateway for the gods. This “gateway” (wherever it might be) opens depending on how large Delad’s mark gets. If it’s big enough, a god can come through the gate into the Material Plane and start changing the world to their liking. “Once a god gets through, it will stay for as long as it wants and the only way to get rid of the god is by getting the god to go back into the same gate,” Master Ryosuke further explains.

Delad doesn’t see the harm in bringing in gods into the Material Plane because maybe they could help the world out but Ryosuke smacks him over the head and explains, “That’s heresy because there was a reason why the gods left us originally so we must respect their actions to do so and not change that fact.”

The group then explains their run in with someone who might be a god, Sehanine. Rothia was affected by her and changed him into a dragon upon his request. Master Ryosuke thinks that Delad and his group have a job to do: they must figure out where this gate is and (maybe, if they decide this) close it for good. Delad then ponders if this would be a sufficient action. “Maybe if we let the gods come through, they’ll be able to walk with us again in perfect harmony.”

After their conversation with Master Ryosuke, the group reunites with Balasar and Jayden and they explain that they saw Leo attempting to kill Emperor Rallis. He ran away out of town with a warforged while being pursued by the emperor’s bodyguards. They make plans to leave town immediately but find that the temple of Pelor that they are in has been occupied by the wounded emperor and his bodyguards.

They decide to try to leave casually and it seems it works as Thorin and Delad exit the main door that’s being guarded by the emperor’s bodyguards but as soon as Delad and Balasar step out the door, they are stopped by Ophel, captain of Emperor Rallis’ guards. He realizes that Jayden and Balasar were there at the parade and followed Leo as he made his escape. Upon further questions that left the two with their mouths hanging open, Delad attempts to argue the authority the bodyguards have here in Geshur and as it gets worse, Emperor Rallis comes from his room, still wounded, but recovering. He calms Ophel down and explains to the party that he wishes to hear what they know about Leo, giving them free reign to leave if they wish to. The nurses and priest doctors are quite amazed to see that his wound has healed so well (after being infected with the very deadly “Dragonbile” poison from Leo’s axe) as the group later finds out that Emperor Rallis’ personal doctor came with him on this trip (Kinsmet is known for it’s wide variety of herbs/healing methods, etc., and their life expectancy is higher than any other country).

The group tells all they know of Leo and find out from the emperor that he is Leonus Anima, sole heir to the throne of Rydelle. They are also told that his father, Braivemor Anima, was murdered by one of his own warforged creations (as Braivemor is the creator of these constructs) with the investigation still being looked into.

The emperor doesn’t know why Leonus would try and kill him, he figures that Leonus thinks the emperor killed Braivemore Anima.

The group tells Rallis they are very surprised by his actions and wish to talk to him first before the emperor arrests him for his attempted murder. Emperor Rallis agrees.

During their discussion, the emperor remembers hearing of the party’s exploits in Cush and he asks Thorin if he is related to Thorin Lotus I. Upon hearing that he is the son of Thorin, the emperor is surprised and is happy to tell them that he knew his father. Thorin’s father was a paladin soldier for Rallis’ army back in 1170. He was one of the only friends the emperor had that was lower than noble status. When the emperor hears that his father is dead, he is sorry to hear that and commends his actions.

After talking to the group about their past exploits and about Stondylus, he offers the party a job. After the incident with Leonus, his bodyguards have gone down in numbers and he is in need of more as they make their way home in two days. The party agrees and they are treated well in the noble house that the emperor is staying in for the next two days.

During that time Jayden accompanies the emperor to political business with Lord Abaddon and King Eglon III. Emperor Rallis offers a peace treaty with the new nation of Midia-Urartu and they humbly accept it. Delad spends his day and a half with Master Ryosuke working on a new meditation technique that will eventually allow him to communicate with others telepathically.

After the two days, the group boards “His Majesty’s Thwin-wep,” the emperor’s personal ship. 20 days go by as they sail around the Great Sea towards the country of Kinsmet, meeting in Shimron. During that time Thorin gets to know the kind-hearted Emperor Rallis a bit more, telling him of his father’s adventures and how eventually he left the Rydelle army to go to Rullmenn (now Remains of Rullmenn) for some reason. And at that time, he had not met Thorin’s mother, Yuma Lotus.

Before they arrived in Shimron, the group is attacked in the middle of the night by a clan of Sahuagin who somehow break the bottom of the boat. It begins to sink and the party vanquishes the sea monsters and one is able to run away. Emperor Rallis is fine along with Ophel and his twin brother, Mearah, another guard.

The group, now finding themselves in the middle of the Great Sea, to the north of the Yalin Mountains, they see a small island in the distance to the north.

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Chapters 5-7
Continued 4th edition sessions

Chapter 5: Our Story Returns to the Present

Timespan: 1st Work 1:1208 to 1st Work 27:1208 (essentially 4/1/1208 – 4/27/1208)

It’s been one year since the group last had any real action. The Gruumsh orcs had retreated into the forests and mountains, while some created their own tribe under the leadership of Gbaja, the party’s old friend. Since then, Thorin, Jayden, and Ralph have been searching everywhere for their missing friend, Delad, the elven monk who holds an old prophecy that could prove deadly to the world. The old, evil wizard Stondylus is dead but the group observed his ghost fly away after possessing Gbaja’s father, Thrull. His spirit lingers in this world for some reason. Maybe to see, what he calls his “Great Theory” come to fruition?

This whole year has been nonstop travels for the party. Of course, visiting towns they have saved in the past, such as Oskoor, the dwarf paladin, in his dwarven city of Pashin.

While the group was in the Midia-Urartu Capital, they made new friends with an interesting and mysterious stranger only known as Leo (actually Leonus Anima). He met them over an ale in a small village and, sympathizing with their plight, joined the party offering to help in any way he could. He never brought up his past but seemed to be anti-religious for some reason, only grudgingly accepting Thorin’s healing prayers.

Through Leo’s contacts in their current city, the group gets their big break and finds out that Delad had been captured and imprisoned for a long time in a hobgoblin fort named Branded by Bane found in the Underdark. After a few weeks of locating the fort, Leo puts his warlord strategics to work, disguising them as prison guards to get into the prison and plan their escape with Delad.

The group also comes in contact with another prisoner, Balasar, a veteran soldier of the old Midian army. They help him escape along with Delad and fight their way out of the Underdark.

During the escape and falling into a Kruthik’s nest, they fight a swarm of Kruthiks. While fighting, Thorin is poisoned by the large spider-like creatures, and at that moment, Jayden remembers what happened 34 years ago to the parents of Thorin.

Chapter 6: 4…2…

After escaping the Underdark the group goes to Haran to collect supplies and figure out what to do next. While at the tavern, Balasar is confronted by some of his old troops, Kesh and Madarr and their new commander. The commander tells him how the 1000 year war between Urartu and Midia (Tieflings vs. Dragonborns respectively) has been settled with a peace treaty. The two countries have become one and they don’t respect Balasar’s old emblem on his surcoat of the old Midia Empire. They begin a bar fight that becomes bloody and even some Tiefling soldiers join the dragonborns’ side against the party. Ralph is used as a decoy by Jayden during the fight and hides in Jayden’s arcane runes for a couple weeks out of anger. The party defeats them, killing Madarr in the process and they knock Kesh out for interrogation.

Upon their victory, Thorin and Jayden talk of his recent revelation of their connected past. Jayden tells the horrible story of his family: how he killed Thorin’s father and how he helped Stondylus put the mark on Delad’s back. It takes a few days for Thorin to take this all in and forgive Jayden for what he did, though it seemed hard for Thorin to take as he did grow up alone without knowing his family and the man he traveled with now was the one who took the life of his father.

During that night, Delad has a terrible dream that seems so vivid. It was of his mentor, Master Ryosuke from the The Temple of Hand Foot and Mind. In the background of this dream is the number 4 and 2 which keeps flashing before the elf. Ryosuke is shown in his study, with books tossed everywhere as he continuously searches religious and historical books. He whispers to himself, “4…2…4…2…” Delad has never seen him so agitated before. Delad’s dream slowly comes in closer to Ryosuke as he sits on the ground, crying, “Delad! Where are you?!” Delad awakens in a cold sweat. While trying to make sense of his dream, Delad goes to the wash basin and mirror to wash his face and notices the fog from outside has seeped inside his room. After a quick splash of water on his face, Delad looks up at the fogged up mirror and he is taken aback to see the numbers 4 and 2 written all over the mirror. The surprise even makes the omen scar on his back begin to hurt and bleed for a moment.

The next day, some of the group decides to do some shopping and Delad, Jayden, and Thorin visit Calvin Notesy in his warehouse. They ask about Thorin’s past family and they find that his mother’s last known whereabouts was the the Island of Resen and the Amber Sea.

When they asked about Jayden’s past, Calvin could not find anything and the only other lead they could give was Stondylus but once that name came up, Calvin immediately erupts in anger and tells the gang to get out of his store.

During that same time, Balasar and Leo ungag Kesh and find out why the new Empire has been created. He did not have much information other than the fact that many of the soldiers were glad that the war was finally over and that Balasar should accept it. Balasar was very upset for the fact the no one came in attempts to rescue him and Kesh’s response was that they tried to find him but were unable to and declared him to be killed in action. Kesh warned him that if Balasar was seen in any of the major cities of Midia-Urartu that he would be taken into custody for deserting the army. With that Balasar knocks him out and they leave town with the rest of the group making sure the innkeeper let’s Kesh out after they’ve left town.

The group then heads to Lystra, an elven neutral city, and spend the night at the inn. During the night, the group awakens to smoke and fire and hear that a dragon has attacked the inn in search of Thorin, wishing to do battle. The group escapes and helps those who couldn’t get out of the fire as best as they can and fight the dragon, who is named Rothia. After knocking the dragon out, they remember that Rothia is the boy they helped out a year ago who was originally human.

They talk to the dragon with the mind of a young teenager and discuss his actions. He assumed now that he was a dragon that he had to act this way by destroying towns and farms in the area as was custom of normal dragons. They also find out that he had been turned into the dragon egg that he was holding a year ago when he was traveling with the group. A beautiful woman (who Thorin recognized as the elven god, Sehanine) came to him in the middle of the night and said she would fulfill his deepest desires so he asked to be turned into a dragon. She then smiled, grew black wings, kissed him on the cheek and flew away. After the kiss he was changed, and ever since then he’s been attacking farmlands everywhere like normal dragons do.

The group was able to convince him that he should try and do good deeds for people so he went into hiding in a forest not far from Lystra. The group said they would be back to help him when they could. After helping with the fire and things became calm, the party went to bed for the rest of the night in a different inn.

Chapter 7: Leo’s True Motives?

Then they traveled the rest of their trip to Delad’s temple. When they got there, they saw that it had been attacked and every student was killed in the midst of what seemed to be an earthquake. The group tried to find Master Ryosuke in his study but couldn’t until finally, Delad was able to open his secret tunnel that led to his secret meditation hall.

As they traveled the tunnel, they came across the paintings of the the common creation story where Erryes was created by the gods and the gods walked in harmony with the mortals. But then what is known as the “Tabula Rasa” took place, where it is an unknown amount of time where know one remembers or recollects what happened in the world. After that time, people were able to write history and no one can find much historical artifacts during that forgotten time period. But what is known is that the gods no longer were able to walk the material plane with the mortals of the world.

Upon entering the mediation hall, the group was able to stop a hag from killing Master Ryosuke. She curses their arrival and begins an attack with her spells and her minions, the earth elementals that caused the earthquake in the first place. She mentions her “Master” is not going to like this. During the battle, she dies and falls to ashes and the group is unable to find out who she was and where she came from.

They find that Master Ryosuke is severely wounded and poisoned and, in order to save his life, Leo suggests they go to the closest city, Geshur. Not questioning his knowledge of the city, the group hastily retreats to the new port city. They are able to help him and cure him but he needed rest for a few days.

While in the city, Leo seemed quite distant from the group, going on frequent walks by himself “to ponder” as he put it. The following day, there was a parade for Emperor Rallis, the leader of the country of Kinsmet to the east. This port city was known for it’s international political business meetings and this recent arrival was in response to a possible peace treaty between Kinsmet and the new country, Midia-Urartu.

During the parade, Balasar and Jayden see Leo on the roof top by the parade with a weird set of goggles on. He is looking down on the Emperor in his carriage and while a fight breaks out during the parade with some commoners, he yells to Rallis saying in their native tongue, “Give my regards to Braivemor.” He then lets loose a hand ax that seems to be covered in a deadly poison called dragonbile where it sinks into the gut of the Emperor.

Rallis’ private guard try to chase Leo through the streets and Jayden and Balasar follow them to see what was going on. They see Leo fighting the Shadar-Kai guards along with what appears to be a Warforged. Leo and the warforged creature leap into a wagon and ride off through the streets.

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Chapter 4: Six Degrees of Separation
First 4th edition session

(This side story took place in another time and place from our story but is relative to the main plot, the players didn’t know when it happened until the end of the session)

Timespan: 1st Collect 3:1174

Thorin Lotus I, Jayden, and Yuma Lotus have been an adventuring group for quite a few years now. Usually they were hired by towns and Thorin’s church of Pelor for help. They were recently hired by Councilman Horatio Pashin to investigate a lair in the Yalin mountains. His city, Pashin, wants to use it for part of their mining. He wishes to go with them to make sure the group does not take anything that might be of dwarven treasure. He hires Dyluck (who is taking care of a small elven baby in his backpack) as well since it was his advice that showed him of these mithral enriched caverns. The group is hired to clear out the caverns so the dwarves can inhabit them again since it was originally theirs many years ago. Horatio has promised 500 GP to each person for their involvement.

While exploring the caverns they come across a band of kobolds led by a wyrmling white dragon who has taken hold of part of the caverns. After a few battles, Yuma feels pains in her stomach. They had been getting worst with each passing day. She’s for sure now, she’s pregnant with Thorin’s child but she fears to tell him while in the midst of the current expedition.

Upon defeating the last of the kobolds and the dragon the group notices another iron-bound door leading further into the mountains. As they regroup and decide which room to investigate further, they notice Dyluck is missing. The earth begins to shake violently as they had noticed slightly earlier in the midst of battle.

They all go inside what appears to be a temple and see Dyluck putting his baby on top of a table. He begins chanting from a book the group has never seen before. Within moments, statues on either side of Dyluck light up with a red glow and transfer their light onto the baby. Thorin, realizing the evil intent of Dyluck, raises his flail and begins to charge at Dyluck. But before he reaches him, the rocks above collapse onto Yuma and Horatio’s legs. Thorin hesitates and then feels a stab in the back…from Jayden.

The half-elf pulls the poison tipped dagger out of Thorin and laughs. “I’ve waited years to do that!” He then looks at Dyluck and asks, “Is the enchantment done, master?” Dyluck says, “Yes, the elven boy has been marked by the gods. When Delad is old enough, the mark will grow in power and we will be able to usher in my Great Theory!”

Thorin hits the floor, paralyzed, while Yuma and Horatio can only look in horror. Dyluck takes the baby, now with a dark red circle emblazoned on his back, and proceeds towards the door with Jayden. Dyluck says to Jayden, “I knew your few years with this group would be beneficial to my plan, it worked perfectly. Let us leave before the ancient temple of Sehanine collapses. We will take Delad to the monastery where we will disguise ourselves as his parents and leave him in the monk’s care. Come Jayden!” The ground shakes even more and the two betrayers walk towards the door. As Jayden passes Thorin he smirks and kicks him saying, “Goodbye old friend, I’m sorry your death is not as honorable as you would have liked it.” He laughs as he walks away, “at least you will be buried here with your wife.” Dyluck yells at Jayden, “Hurry, boy!” Jayden looks up and snarls, “Yes…Master Stondylus.”

More rocks begin to fall as they leave, but Yuma and Horatio are able to push the rocks off of themselves. Horatio leaps up and begins to pursue the mages, “I’ll get them, you get Thorin out of here! We don’t have much time ’til the whole place caves in!”

Yuma rushes to Thorin’s side. He coughs up some blood and, even with all the effort Yuma tries to make, she finds that the poison is running it’s course inside him and he’ll be dead within minutes. After some sobbing, Thorin raises his head to Yuma’s cheek and says, “It’s ok, you go on, save yourself.” She grabs his hand, realizing this is their last conversation, “You know…I’m pregnant.” He looks surprised, “Really? That is so amazing.” he coughs out. She continues, “I know it’s a boy.” He replies, “How do you know?” She smiles with a tear in her eye, “Women just know these things, trust me.” He asks as rubble continues to fall down around them, “What’s his name going to be?” “Well, I thought we could name it after my father.” He retorts, “Cecil?! No way!” She smiles confidently, “I love you, Thorin…Thorin, we’ll call him Thorin.” She continues to cry as he gives her one last kiss and mutters, “Sure…Yuma, I love you t-“ and his last breath is given. She cries until finally Horatio comes back in and pulls her out against her will. They escape just as the cavern caves in on itself. Horatio says, “They got away…” he looks at the woman and says sadly, “I’m sorry about your loss, Thorin was a good man.” Yuma wipes her tears and says confidently, “Yes he was,” she then puts her hands on her stomach and continues, “HE will be a good man.”

Horatio goes back to his home to tell of the bad news of the mines. Yuma tries to search for Jayden and Stondylus but does not find them. She gives birth to Thorin and raises him for a year until she leaves him for some mysterious reason on the steps of their church, The Sundial, on The Island of Resen. She is never seen again.

Thus is the story of Stondylus, Delad, Jayden and Thorin Lotus II 34 years ago…

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Chapters 1-3
D&D 3.5 sessions

Timespan: From 2nd Rise 3:1207 to 1st Work 2:1207 (roughly 2 months)

Chapter 1: It All Started With a Mine

The party, who had been traveling for a bit as adventurers, started by entering the town of Rullmenn in the Country of Cush. They met Father Yorick there and were told of the Burning Plague that was afflicting Duvik’s Pass, a mining town not far from Rullmenn. They went there, disposed of Jakk Torn Claw, a cleric of Gruumsh, and saved the town, but found that Oskoor’s brother, Misako, had died from the Plague while mining there. The plague also infected Delad and so the group was told to find Kyrynn, a Cleric that was last seen in Newkeep.

The group traveled to Newkeep and found a new buddy for their group, Gbaja, the half-orc ex-Gruumsh follower. He left his father’s army for he felt that his father, Thrull, was wrong in the way he managed the savage orc army. The new group found that Kyrynn was trying to stop the evil wizard, Stondylus, from attacking the countryside 5 years ago but his group and he failed. Kyrynn was cursed into a two-headed ettin, but luckily, our heroes were able to cure him and in return, he followed them back to Duvik’s Pass and cured Delad just in time. Also, when Jayden, the amnesiac half-elf sorcerer, heard the name Stondylus, he remembered, for some reason, that he was the apprentice of the evil wizard. He remembered his latest research was something called, “The Great Theory.”

When Delad came to, he remembered that he had a vivid dream from his teacher, Master Ryosuke. In it, Ryosuke told him of the evil wizard Stondylus, and how he must stop him. He found out that his tower that he lived in was in the Glubroon Woods, one week’s ride west of Rullmenn. Ryosuke said, “There you will find out more about your purpose as the prophecy that must be fulfilled. Also, you will find the past memories of your half-elf friend, Jayden.”

Chapter 2: What Lies in the Tower?

At this point everyone wants to know where this wizard is since no one has heard from him for 5 years, until now. He destroyed Newkeep’s old home and terrorized Duvik’s Pass in the past. As the group travels to Rullmenn first they find that the whole town was decimated by the orcs of Gruumsh. While looking for survivors, they find Gbaja again (as they separated after helping them fight the two headed ettin), who finds a young human teenager by the name of Rothia. This mercenary decides to help the group since they saved him. Gbaja found out his father’s army (followers of Gruumsh) had joined sides with Stondylus. Gbaja again decides to join the group as he does not like what his father is doing.

For fear of his dwarven town in Pashin, and to give the councilmen the information he has found about Stondylus and the Orcs of Gruumsh working together, Oskoor parts ways with the group in haste to warn them. Oskoor does so, and learns that the Orcs seem to be on the move as Pashin’s scouts have learned. They prepare for war and fear that it might be their mountain kingdom that will be attacked by the orcs soon. The councilmen also tells Oskoor that the The Unforgotten Brothers have been seen in the jails of the Gruumsh army. Oskoor, ready to find his lost brothers, joins back with the other heroes in hopes to find them at Stondylus’ tower. The rest of the heroes ride to the tower and begin to explore the ancient looking tower. It is encased by a force field with what seems to be a ghost inside of it, as if trapped by the magical barrier. Delad stays with the horses as the rest of the group ventures underneath the tower to try and find a way in. Oskoor rides to Glubroon woods and finds Delad outside. They both leave the horses in the woods, in hopes they can find them again, and venture into caves that lead underneath the wizard’s tower. They find that the area around the tower seems quite empty as they thought that there would be part of the Gruumsh army encamped here. They eventually find the rest of the heroes in a secret room in the tunnels underground. They catch up and rest there for the night.

After that, the group continues to search the tower and eventually find a way in. They are now all together except that during one of the nights they spent in their secret room underground Rothia goes missing while they were all asleep. They did find his equipment strewn about in one room with what appeared to be a hatched dragon egg that was inside of Rothia’s backpack, a secret he had kept from the rest of the group. With no body or dragon to be found, they continued on their journey to find Stondylus. After further exploration of what was once an old temple to a forgotten god the group has found a secret tunnel further into the wizard’s lair.

The group has explored the evil wizard Stondylus’ tower and found his dead body. In the process a ghost that was haunting the tower has escaped once the force field that was encasing the tower had been shut down. Within the tower, the group finds diary notes from the wizard of his Great Theory. Jayden recollects some more information on himself. He remembers being the Wizard Stondylus’ apprentice at least 5 years ago. Jayden grew up under his tutelage ever since he was a boy, the wizard seemed to never age himself even though he was human. Jayden figured it was some sort of spell or deal with a devil. After hearing the “Great Theory,” Jayden felt it was a golden opportunity for him to try and take over Stondylus’ position as he developed a close relationship with him. During the past few years Jayden and Stondylus found themselves trapped in this tower by the wizard’s folly of trying to put up a force barrier but misjudged the placing of it (in order for the party to get into the tower, they had to lower the force field, letting the ghost get away in the process). Luckily they had been onto finding a way out and Jayden decided to kill him in his sleep once the door out of the place was made. After killing him and leaving the tower the rest is hazy to Jayden. After that, all he remembers is finding himself stranded on a beach where Ralph had found him and took care of him.

The party, feeling as though they had accomplished their goal, decided to leave the tower through the portal Jayden walked out before when he was originally trapped in this tower. Unfortunately, the party was surrounded by a small orc troop of 100 or so soldiers who were part of the Gruumsh army. They took the party hostage and were knocked out.

Chapter 3: Stondylus Lives! (So to Speak)

The party had managed to escape the orc encampment and found themselves in the woods not far from Stondylus’ tower. After all the running they realized they had separated from Delad. The road they are on takes them to a nearby traveling band of gypsies. They offer food, water, and a place to lay for the night. They tell the heroes of the recent orc activity in the area because they are getting ready for war against the mountain dwarves. The party tells the gypsies their story and how they are trying to rescue the Unforgotten Brothers and they applaud their efforts. Even so much as they offer to trade with the party a variety of magical weapons and armor. After trading, the next morning the gypsies tell them of the orc’s main headquarters at the abandoned keep of Xul-Jarak not far from the dwarven mountains of Yalin. Gbaja remembers this is where his father had planned to rebuild the keep for their village and he takes the heroes there.

The group attacks the orcs in the keep and make their way down to Gbaja’s father, Thrull, as he tries to sacrifice to Gruumsh the dwarven brothers Oskoor had been searching for. They stop him and kill him.

Thrull’s dying words are: “Gruumsh lives! Stondylus lives! When one of us falls, the others grow stronger through the wizard’s power! His power leaves me now to embody the next chosen one! They will be twice as strong as I was! That is the beauty of the wizard’s final experiment!” He gasps and falls dead on the ground. A ghost rises from Thrull’s body. A familiar smirk comes from it and looks right at Jayden and he floats upwards into the ceiling and disappears.

Upon defeat, the remaining orcs that lived scream in panic and run out of the cavern screaming, “Thrull has been vanquished! Run away! The enemy is invincible!” Word spreads and it seems the keep is quiet again.

Gbaja takes Thrull’s club and becomes the leader of the newly made tribe of Ijon. Chief Gbaja takes those that wish to be with him back into the woods and mountains to create a tribe their centered around the god, Pelor. Gbaja parts ways with the group and says they are always welcome in his village.

Luckily for Oskoor, the Unforgotten Brothers have been found and saved! The group travels a couple days to the Yalin mountains and find the dwarf kingdom of Pashin is intact as the Gruumsh orc armies had fled upon hearing that their chief is dead. Oskoor has been named a town hero upon their return. He has accomplished his life mission. Oskoor decides to stay in Pashin and guard his city as a high ranking general of their army. He bids farewell to the group and encourages them to come and visit his home of Pashin anytime.

As a cleric of Pelor, Thorin’s missionary work is never over. He has wronged the rights today, but there is much pain and evil in the world for him to cleanse. Especially as his friend Jayden suffers from amnesia, he feels he must find out with the sorcerer about his past, where the spirit of Stondylus went, and how to stop the prophecy from coming to fruition.

As for Jayden, he has helped Oskoor’s people, but whatever happened to Delad? In fact, what happened to that ghost of Stondylus that left Thrull’s body? And there is still a few years of his mind that he has forgotten. It seems Jayden’s quest to find out more of this Great Theory and what evil deity Stondylus let into this world might become apocalyptic in nature. But they do not fear this, it only makes them more intent on finding out where the ghost of Stondylus went.

Thorin and Jayden leave the Yalin mountains in search of the next step to their journey. What lies next for our adventurers? Will they find out Jayden’s past? Will they finally destroy Stondylus? Will they find their old friend Delad? Will they stop the Great Theory from causing the whole entire plane of existence to crumble?

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