Four Fables

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.

Love,
Balderk

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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…

Love,
Balderk.

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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.”

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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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Chapter 40: "Hi, my name is Carl."
11-19-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 26:1209

The group planned their caper and began. They begin by looking for the secret entrance near the moat of Tanlan’s estate that they were “informed” would be there. They were lied to and decide to try and scale the wall. They trick some guards as Blue Hilt disguises himself as “Carl,” a wall sentry. They trick the other soldiers and knock them out. They begin searching one of the barracks as Fermina and a few of her men enter the barracks to see what the problem is. A fight ensues and more soldiers begin to come toward the barracks. The group is able to knock her out (with Fissure gouging out her eyes and keeping her alive in the process) and take her with them as they begin to fall back to a hiding spot. They are also able to get her pendant that is the key to opening the Tanlan’s inner keep door. Soldiers begin to come towards the barracks and the group is almost found out when all of a sudden, Siv begins to pray using the broken holy symbol around her neck, a storm brews and a stroke of lightning strikes the stable, catching it on fire. The soldiers then begin to swarm the stable to put out the horrendous fire now ensuing, giving cover to the group.

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Chapter 39: Elderwood
9-17-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 25:1209-1st Work 26:1209

The group continues to search for information and are also greeted by a new “ally:” Blue Hilt. He doesn’t say why he is in Cush but it seems apparent that his own strength is not as strong in an unfamiliar land. He claims his needs match the other characters and has valuable info. for them to help with the caper. The group reluctantly takes him on.

They are able to subdue some of the Wolf Company men who were on a fox hunt to learn some valuable information and lower their numbers. Once done, “Fissure” does not like the fact that the soldier who they interrogated is singing a love song dedicated to Sehanine. It seems the soldier has given up, knowing that he will die by the hands of the group and all he wishes is to see his children and wife once again. He sings despite Fissure telling him to stop and so the dragonborn proceeds to torch his face off and kill him.

Some of the group is able to use the help of the Thieves Guild to find more info. and “Siv” is able to see a bird’s eye view of the soldiers and Tanlan’s estate. That night she goes back to the Bough Shrine and asks for forgiveness for what she did to them. The priest and druid accept her apology and begin to teach her about all of the good gods. Siv tells of her past with Vecna and is very confused.

The group confronts a few other informants who give info. to them but one is not too happy to do it and runs away. One of them asks for the groups help to find a book that only shows it’s title on the binder when certain words in supernal are mentioned. The group is surprised that Fissure knew the right words to say.

The next day the group has a late lunch in order to prepare for the actual caper for that night. While at the inn, the town crier comes to tell of the global news that is happening: Today, a new Duke of Rydelle has been proclaimed as Leonus Anima, a warforged, takes the seat. The fall of Oracle Alvis from a few days ago is mentioned and how Gunnarr has been made interim Oracle until Father Gbaja (who has been named “Holy Preceptor”) finds the next Oracle of Pelor. The final news is given as the heroes of the Portal receive the same news in their letter from Kyrynn:

Councilman Horatio Pashin has been found dead in his home,a heart attack claimed his life. The heroes of the Portal realize that this means Stondylus is out there, somewhere. Probably in a new body.

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Chapter 38: Meanwhile...
8-27-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 26:1209 to 1st Work 27:1209

As the group recovers from a very very long day, Leonus leads his comrades through decadent gardens. He chuckles bitterly as he brushes a blue flower, “These were cultivated in our private garden in Rydelle when I was a boy, but I always preferred them in the wild. I thought of myself as wild as well, forced to live in stale castle walls made by man. Now, I find that I may have been made…manufactured in those walls myself. I watched my mother wilt and die like a cut flower, and my sister likewise stricken by a painful disease, and now I see why I was as immune as the walls themselves.” After long moments staring somberly at the garden, he continues up some stairs to the outer rampart that casts a beautiful view over the sprawling city. Thousands of people thrive and make a living in peaceful commerce, trading the grains of Barfield for the imports from the harbor that licks the city’s edge. “I guess it doesn’t make any difference in the end. I was raised from some form of childhood among these loving people, and I would die to keep them safe. This nation has known little other than forceful occupation throughout its history and, though it has made them a hearty lot, the people of Kinsmet remain hopeful that existence has meaning, and that truth and justice will prevail.” He turns to the group for the first time (his eyes strong behind the pooling tears) and, for the second time in your travels, you are struck by how young he really is. “I have delayed my return to this land as long as I could because I believe in our cause, but it is time I serve that cause from here.”

“Balasar, of all the comrades, I have felt the closest kinship to you. Our hearts are to defend our brothers-in-arms, and both of us have been pursued by our own people unfairly. You bore the weight of trial in a foreign land on my behalf, and it is still my desire if able to be tried with you in your homeland. I have been through the arenas of Midia before, and I have seen my king changed as well. I will seek audience with Eglon to discover the truth behind his union with such an enemy. It seems evil desires to court you on every turn, yet when the moment of decision falls upon you, you have always chosen to stand with your friends. It has been an honor to fight shoulder to shoulder with you, a wall against the darkness. Now that we must part, it falls to you alone to stand between danger and your comrades. Defend them with all the strength of your noble heart.”

“Delad, of all our number, you and I have been at odds the most, yet I regret our parting more than any other. I have wept with you as your heart was torn to pieces and restored by Pelor’s healing light. So young in your walk with him, and your faith in Thorin has been shaken by the taint in his blood. I understand your mistrust and sense of betrayal, but his journey is not yet over. Though his loyalties seem divided, he still longs to protect the innocent and restore order to the world. Help him stay the course as we did for you. You have been marked as the key to this great portal, and I sense a choice will fall to you when this prophecy reaches its climax. I hope to stand with you when the time comes, but if you stand alone remember our time together, and the teachings of your master Ryosuke as well!”

“Jayden, I was just starting to really get to know you, as we traveled the land of your youth, and now we are separated. I have learned of your dark past, and still Stondylus holds that over you, but it is a lie. You have chosen to be a good man, and must be free from the manacles of self-judgment. I too have been forgiven much, for some things even by you, and together we forge new identities. When this is over, I would gladly invite you to uphold your principles as a leading member of the Gatekeepers if you would accept. In the meantime, continue to stand by Thorin and counsel him through the valley he now walks as only you can.”

“Shintaro, ours has been a difficult time together. Both of us parted from our station of birth, having seen our nations fall upon evil times. We spent more time hounded by our enemies or sick on our backs than treated like royalty or (as we would often prefer) left alone. You stood by me, though, when it seemed against your interest (and perhaps your better judgment) and have fought the battles of others. I pledged my aid in helping you find the lost artifacts and in restoring your throne. With the authority placed on me, perhaps I may better aid you from here. We disagree about the intentions of the gods (or at least of one) and their right to participate in our world, but with the power Pelor has given me I will hold back the tide of evil that seeks to overwhelm civilization and even nature itself. In reality, I have valued your perspective in our travels, and have come to see us as brethren. Perhaps our bond will be mirrored in that of Kinsmet and Lau Jahnan.”

“Thorin, you were there for me during the darkest time of my life. You bore with my bitterness toward Pelor with patience and humbly modeled his ways for me. When my father died… and I seemed to betray you all, it was your voice that committed the party to follow me into battle against a seeming ally in Rallis. As we purged the desecrated temple of Pelor in the mountains to the south, I came to see you as a mentor and my barriers against the god of light slowly slipped away. As the choice to become Pelor’s chosen champion lay before me in Rallis’ chamber, it was your encouragement that rang in my ears. Now, it is your turn to travel through the valley of darkness. Like me, you now mourn the death of your father, the oracle. And like me, this loss is aggravated by even more suffering in the loss of your mortality and the confidence of your order. Do not let their judgments pierce your heart, though, my friend. Pelor has not forsaken you or found you unworthy of his blessings. I know you are torn by your feelings for Hulda, and living with your heart is truly important, but don’t let it cloud you from the truth. She admits serving Vecna, the god of undeath and a mortal enemy of Pelor who brought about the death of Alvis. Compromise not with the wicked. Restore Delad’s hope in you by your actions, and choose carefully for the fate of your comrades and of the world.”

Upon the wall that overlooks Anvar, a moment of unity comes across the group as Leo expresses his feelings and farewells. Without Thorin casting the prayer, Malakiy appears before them all, hovering upon the light of the sun. He speaks, “Let it be known that one of the Heroes of Portal now takes his leave from the companions to best serve his country. Let it also be known,” a long pause as he stares at Leo who begins to flash different colors of the prophecy, “that Leonus Anima, Duke of Rydelle, ‘son’ of Braivemore Anima, is not,” all of the colors are quickly extinguished at that point as he continues, “part of the prophecy.” Malakiy continues with a smile on his face as he looks at Leo, “Pelor favors you, Leonus. Your father is truly happy for what you have done. In fact, he could probably tell you best,” he gestures his hand toward Leo’s side as his sword (which he thought was always his father’s blade but in reality was the final product of Braivemore’s inventions just for Leo) begins to float out of it’s sheathe. As it does so, a new light, one of fire and radiance, emits from the now enhanced blade. The blade shows an image of the white knight that has been “teaching” Leo of his new powers, his father, Braivemore stands with his helmet at his side.

He says, “This blade is now fully awakened to it’s true potential as you begin to discover your true self. The warforged were created to not only protect our land, but were created for that which I was unable to create to begin with: Life. You have always been my son, Leo. Numbers, theory, and equations mean nothing to me when I look at you and even though I transmit this letter to you after my death, I am with you, at your side,” as the sword then begins to hover back into the young knight’s sheathe upon his side.

The group is about to say their farewells to Leo but his Gatekeepers tell their Duke that many of their soldiers are fighting in Frosthaven right now. Braivemore, years ago, had made a promise to Frosthaven to help them the next time they were at war. Leo says he will take a small entourage with him and help his friends one last time before leaving for Rydelle City so that he can get his troops back home.

The Heroes realize they must try and find Gbaja and Hannu now. They cast a ritual to teleport to Frosthaven (with Thorin taking extra precaution as to make sure the portal is not changed by the “Mole” again). They then arrive a day later in Frosthaven at Mama Foxx’s School to find that Gbaja has been there for the past few days waiting for them to return. Hannu did not make the trip with Gbaja so, yet again, Hannu is lost in planar travel to the group. Upon their arrival it looks like the Rebel alliance against the dragon siblings have been gearing for war since General Zirithian is now dead. But the group is given a letter from Kyrynn who explains he has bad news for them about Councilman Horatio Pashin and Stondylus.

Timespan: 1st Work 24:1209-1st Work 25:1209

Meanwhile…in the country of Cush we find a new group of adventurers taking on a job as mercenaries in the village of Elderwood. Each of the ahem, “heroes” has taken a code name to protect themselves and their identity: “Fissure”, “Longcoat”, “The Prince”, and “Siv.” The group has been hired by a mysterious gentleman by the name of the He promises them wealth for a dangerous job: In the village, the tyrant Lord Breyart Tanlan plans to claim the village for his own by way of force. This “Lord” has a lot of money and pays his “army” of mercenaries through it. The heroes are told if they are able to steal his wealth his army would up and leave and the village would be indebted to the heroes. Of course, the “heroes” are only interested in the money. In order to gain the heroes trust, the Locksmith presents each of the mercs the real name of one of the other people in the group (including himself) and a secret about themselves that would ruin said person.

The group agrees on the job and begins to look for clues on how to break into Lord Tanlan’s estate. They meet many interesting people in the village: “Siv” meets a priestess, Beles, at the Bough Shrine who says she will help her and her group to stop Tanlan from encroaching Elderwood. Siv is put to a test of faith in order to gain the Beles’ trust and is put into a trance. Siv recollects a pivotal moment in her life to see if she would make the same decision again or change it. She is brought back to her lover’s death and rebirth: Thorin lies dying from a vampire attack and instead of biting him to save him, “Siv” (at this point it is obvious is Hulda) attacks Teman Loot’sko. In this “reality,” Hulda kills Teman but Thorin dies in the process. The trance is over and the Beles is pleased with Hulda’s response (even though she changed her decision, she still made a good decision). Hulda doesn’t seem pleased upon finding out this information so she burns all of the altars to the various gods at the shrine, except for Pelor. Hulda says, “This is a shrine to Pelor now only,” and walks away. Beles begins to cry and says, “Honey, you just don’t understand at all.” Hulda seems bewildered and walks away.

The Locksmith is put to tasks by the rogues guild to find more information and Fissure is accepted by the local Militia for showing his strength by taking down their captain of the guard. That night, the group follows the Locksmith to where the thieves guild is meeting with him and they are attacked in the fishing warehouse by the docks by a halfling rogue (named Olos, one of Tanlan’s higher-ups) and his men. “Red” (the Locksmith’s contact with the thieves guild) runs away during the attack and the heroes kill Olos and are able to get a pendant that will allow the heroes entry into Tanlan’s castle. They rest that night with the pigs in a stable (as most of them were kicked out of the inn) and continue their investigation before the big caper happens on the third night.

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Chapter 37: From Criminal to Crown
7-16-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 25:1209-1st Work 26:1209

After a ruthless fight with Zirithian in his domain, the characters are triumphant. But the power of Orcus is a temptation to Hannu who takes the vampire’s sword in order to gain the power to destroy the djinni who imprisoned him. The party tries to talk him down but it is useless as Thorin’s own patience seems to have withered compared to what he used to be who takes his anger out on the shardmind. They beat him into submission and Balasar takes the sword to destroy it. Balasar is also tempted by the sword but history repeats itself and he knows what this could get him into so he destroys it with the help of the Keeper of Shadowfell. Orcus is upset but also scared of the heroes at this point.

The party gains some treasures and begin to create a linked portal ritual in order to return back to Frosthaven. Hannu asks for forgiveness and they say all is fine as they travel through the portal.

Another anomaly occurs as they enter the portal in hopes to return to Frosthaven. But, again, the mole strikes, and they are taken to an unknown place. They arrive in a vast plain in broad daylight. Leo recognizes the smell of corn and tomato fields, common to the farm lands of Barfield. Leo is home, Kinsmet. The smell is a warm greeting but is quickly deteriorated by the sound of steel being drawn. Before the heroes, encircled, is a troop of soldiers of Kinsmet. “Stand down Leo, and you won’t be harmed,” a familiar voice pierces the gloomy air. Leo’s best friend, Truquan Gladerunner, stands before him with an arrow knocked on his bow and a sour face shown. “The Gatekeepers have been ordered by the order of all Dukes and Duchesses of Kinsmet to take you in for your trial. It’s time…” He holds his arrow up but is hoping for their surrender. Before them, as well, is a young half elf woman with fiery red hair who peeks out from behind a soldier. Another gruff voice protrudes from the ranks: “It seems your dream held true, Ritspah, they arrived here just like your god said.” The voice is Chezib. His look goes from the red haired woman and faces you with a toothy grin, his club held up to you, “It’s simple puny beings, drop your weapons or feel the wrath of Kinsmet. The group at first is resistant but Leo is able to convince them that they must do it this way or their names will not be cleared like they should be.

They are taken into custody. They travel for a few hours through the roads of Kinsmet. Some farmers notice them, but most just try and get away from soldier business. After a few hours by wagon, the party comes to the large city of Anvar. This was the city Rallis held during his reign. Truquan does his best to treat the prisoners right giving food and water but only after ALL of their items are taken (other than their clothes). They arrive in the city and are taken to the Duke’s keep. Truquan says, “The prison was recently invaded by undead so you won’t be staying there. Instead the trial will happen immediately. I can’t believe how easy it was to expect you at that place in Barfield, seems Sehanine doesn’t like you too much."

Mysteriously a blond haired person from the ramparts is seen by Thorin. A strange sense of healing comes over some of the heroes and before they can react, the figure is gone. They are brought into the keep where 3 of the Dukes/Duchesess of Kinsmet stand as their jury: Duchess Amahlia Frostwind, Duke Horace, Baroness Martina Logos.

After many questions, it is seen that the heroes were not the cause of Emperor Rallis’ actual death. The heroes explain their story though with much rebuttal from Duke Horace. With many surprise witnesses from Oskoor and Gunnarr, the heroes are having a hard time proving they are true heroes based on past adventures. But Jayden really turns the trial to their side with a stirring speech.

When Leo is put on the stand, Horace has many interesting points to make:

“Gunnarr mentioned that you asked Aleska some odd questions after her death in a ritual and she asked you one too. She asked ‘Why are you not dead?’ Seems odd, doesn’t it, Leo?” Leo is bewildered as Horace continues, “Aleska was not born an Anima, correct? Do you know why? Doctor Hanfell, the family doctor of the Anima family could vouch for that, correct?” An old man who Leo recognizes as his old family doctor. He gets up and tells the group that Braivemore was sterile.

Horace, with a grin, says, ‘If Braivemore was sterile, how would he have a kid, like you? Didn’t you say your father always referred to you as his ’Greatest invention’ Leo? I’d like to continue with another witness, Number 129.’ A warforged with a rusty blade at his side stands before the court.

Timid, he eventually says, “Braivemore created me and my brothers and sisters long ago. Their were 129 of us all together, we were his family and wanted to please him. But we couldn’t, we weren’t perfect. He shut us all down once he perfected the warforged with Number 130.”

Horace says looking about the court, “And who is Number 130?”

Number 129 points to Leo, “That one.” A gasp is heard throughout the crowd. The older warforged continues, "Olaf’s original name was “0” as he was the first prototype to you, Number 130. You are perfect in every way: perfect skin, eyes, face recognition, muscles, tears, even oil that looks like blood. You were his pride, Number 130. And this?" he points to the rusty blade, “This is the real Anima Blade. It hasn’t been used in forever, the one you have Leo was a replica but was your father’s last invention to help awaken you into knowing who you really are, a warforged. It’s been helping you along the way in your travels to find your true self.”

Horace interrupts as Leo looks lost in all the words, “Number 129 was not affected by the death switch you pulled, so that meant you wouldn’t be either. If you knew you were a warforged then you knowingly killed 99 percent of the world’s population of warforged. Getting back at your father’s life work, thinking you could take away that which your father loved. First Rallis, then the Warforged would fall by your hand, it’s true, isn’t it Leo!?” Horace is breathing heavily in Leo’s face.

Leo finds himself through the news of his past and shakes out of the confusion, “No! That’s not true! I would never do that! My father’s work meant everything to me.” The other Duchesses chime in saying that Horace only has accusations at this point and must stand down. Horace, feeling defeated sits down.

The 3 judges take their recess to make a decision of the heroes. They come back and find them all not guilty of the murder of Emperor Rallis, believing that their story is true. With all the accounts against them, the heroes are surprised but later the Duchesses explain evidence was found that Rallis died of his own volition and that the point of this trial was to appease the people of Kinsmet so they feel justice has prevailed. Also, it gave them a chance to see what Duke Horace will do to have the heroes all imprisoned which makes them worried. “That’s why we want you to be Duke of Rydelle as your father would have wanted.” They bow before Leo as he accepts his Father’s land and takes the Anima crown for his own.

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Chapter 36: The Shadowfell
6-11-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 25:1209

The heroes entered the Shadowfell through the portal made by the dragon’s horn while in Frosthaven. They are met by The Keeper of Deadhold, a sentient being who judges those who enter the Shadowfell and decide if they should remain here or not. While trying to impress the Keeper with their knowledge of the planes, the heroes friend from the Underdark, Hannu appears before them all. It turns out a teleportation spell that went awry for him sent the shardmind into the Shadowfell by accident. As he wishes to return to the Material Plane, the Keeper mentions that maybe he was brought by fate once again to be with these mortals to help them in their quest to vanquish Zirithian. He agrees to help the group in order to get back to the Material Plane.

The party realizes that the Keeper doesn’t like his job too much and wishes to end his terms with Orcus (who put him here). He bargains with the group to take the sword, Content Not Found: nightbringer, from Zirithian and “plunge it into the eye of Orcus. You will know when the time is right.” Some agree to this (Thorin, Shintaro, Hannu, and Balasar) while others disagreed and angered the Keeper. He cursed them as he left them to their fate.

The party then trekked across the harsh sandy and gray world of Deadhold. The Keeper’s curses and harsh undead monsters and demons attacked them but they gained access to Deadthrone, Zirithian’s outpost that overlooks the Sea of Rot (a literal river of millions of undead creatures). As they enter the shadowy gate they are put to the test: Body, Mind, and Spirit. They prove themselves (though with many of them sapped of much of their energy) and are confronted by an astral projection of Orcus. He asks them to kill Zirithian and take Nightbringer in order for them to become his new exarchs instead of the drow vampire. The group responds to Orcus on their own telepathically and Orcus shouts with anger (and a bit of fear in his voice) to a majority of the group. They are then given access to the inner sanctum of Zirtihian, The Ziggurat.

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Chapter 35: Blue Hilt
5-14-12 session

Timespan: 1st Work 19:1209 to 1st Work 25:1209

The group continued to search for Mama Foxx’s house of the Gifted while dealing with a group of Frost Giants at one point. Finally, their search is over as they find the abandoned school. As they search separately throughout the abandoned school one group finds a pack of teens, mainly made of half-elves, led by Peren. They are survivors and part of the rebellion against the Dragons that rule the land. The heroes are able to help them by agreeing to take care of the Dragons’ general, Zirithian. He brings many of their troops in via portals to Frosthaven from Deadhold, a section of the Shadowfell, where he resides.

Jayden remembers his past as he searches by himself (of course, Ralph is with him) through the school. He comes across the boy’s barracks that he and his brother resided in their youth and he finds an old Fairytale book called “The Blue Hilt.” He remembers the story well how this vigilante saved Frosthaven from corrupt generals of Lykovia over a hundred years ago.

While remembering the old story he grew fond of in his childhood (as Jayden and his brother would make believe to be Blue Hilt in their youth), Jayden notices the air to grow cold as the window has somehow opened near him. He closes it and turns around to leave the room but is startled to see a figure standing before him. This white cloaked man (whose face is obstructed other than his mouth) with a blue hilt at his side holds his hand up to show that he comes in peace. He says in a guttural, low voice, “This town hasn’t seen colder days in all the winters it’s experienced. The sibling dragons are an icicle that forms on the bowels of this city, and I aim to break it. I am the mouthpiece of Frosthaven, the frozen winds don’t carry the words of the disenfranchised. I aim to fix that. I tell you this because I trust you, Jayden. And I know about you and your friends. What you have done, everything. I know you can do the impossible, kill their general, the one who leads the dragons’ armies. Once he is dead, I can lead the revolution. The rebels will rise and strike their armies. And the two will be nothing but wyrmlings crying for their mother. Will you do this for me? I ask because the stakes will be high but I know you care for Frosthaven, your homeland.”

Jayden agrees with some question as to his past and his brother and Blue Hilt explains that he knew Crynaden, he helped in the revolution but died months ago in the starting rebellion. Now Blue Hilt wants to avenge him and asks Jayden to do this but not speak of Blue Hilt to anyone, even his friends. For he knows of the mole that has been prophesied by Malakiy. The dragons could become aware of the legend of Blue Hilt being true and search for him.

Blue Hilt shows the horn on a decaying dragonborn body that was part of the dragons’ armies. Upon blowing on the horn, the group can open the portal to the Shadowfell. Jayden takes it and rejoins the group, he agrees with the heroes to go into the portal and Peren agrees to help when they get back if they vanquish Zirithian. The group is slightly surprised that Jayden wants to help so quickly without asking questions but assume his love for Frosthaven outweighs his thoughts.

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