The Midlands Histories

Ghosts of the Past

The two large wooden doors that stood before the group were not locked, but the doors would not move. Finding them sealed by magic, Lam rifled through the book of spells he had discovered on the shelves of the lab. In the back of the book were several loose leafs of parchment. Arcane scrolls. Shuffling quickly through them, he picked out a Knock ritual. After a brief debate about whether to save the scroll or use it, the party cast the ritual and opened the doors. The magical light of Talendil’s sword illuminated a dense, eerie, and faintly glowing fog awaiting them in the space .1

Uncertain of what lay beyond, the party hesitated. Sounds of martial conflict echoed from somewhere out of sight. Metal clashed against metal over viscous hisses and growls. Cautiously, Lam sent his elemental zephyr in, and promptly lost contact with it. When the rest of the party remained wary, Lam decided to risk the unknown, stepped forward, and vanished into the fog.
Blue fog
Within, a battle raged. Though he could not see clearly more than a few feet around him, luminous spectral figures danced in combat through the mists. Large, reptilian humanoids clashed, as one side pressed towards the doors Lam had just walked through while the other side pressed back in defense. Lam’s companions followed him in, and tried to make sense of what they saw. The defenders wore tabards, bearing the mark of Bahamut. Battle calls and shouts in the draconic language drifted through the air. Listening closely, Lam interpreted cries of " Tiamat will prevail!", “Drive the heretics back!”, and “Crush the oppressors!”

Strange energies within the area caused them to slow down and created a confusion in their minds. As the group began to make their way slowly forward, spirits from both sides turned on them. While Talendil, Mara-kai, and Bree were careful to only attack the creatures un-marked by the symbol of Bahamut, Lam, in keeping with his faith, chose the opposite tactic. Both Mara-kai and Bree made brief attempts to aid Lam, but he would not be dissuaded from provoking the spirits. He attacked again and again, even after the rest of the party had made its way into the next chamber through another, larger set of wooden double doors.

Lam showed no mercy and never faltered, striking relentlessly at the foes of his goddess, until finally one spirit charged him and with its ghostly warhammer sapped the last of his life-force. Alone among the spirits, he fell to the stone floor. As the creature raised its hammer to finish him, it was attacked by a foe and rejoined the ghostly fray.
Db vs lf
Past the second set of doors, the other party members discovered a duel of sorts, frozen in time. Two warriors, one from each side of the battle in the fogs, stood silently facing off against each other. Energies similar to those in the fog moved slowly around the combatants. Upon a stepped dias on the opposite side of the room, they found the rubble of what they determined was once an alabaster statue of a dragon. Talendil lifted a part of the head out of the pile and carried it into the temporal forces. There, the magic began to swirl around it.

Mara-kai did the same, followed by Bree. Bit by bit the statue began to reassemble and as it neared its un-ruined state, it was drawn back to the dias. Once back in its proper place, a flash of pale yellow light filled the room. As it faded, in front of the reassembled statue stood a dozen foot tall soldier, clad in armor like the soldiers of Bahamut in the fog. In its clawed hands it held a sword sized to fit them.
Aspect of bahamut
It addressed the group, observing that they were not his people and asking what their intentions were in this place. It made note of Talendil’s fae nature, contrasting ways of faeries with the more straightforward nature of his people. It explained that the spirits in this place had been allowed to continue the battle they fought in life as a reward for their service. The three explained the prophecy given to them by the goblin seeress and that they sought items that would aid them. Once satisfied of their intent, it revealed a hidden cache of weapons and other supplies.
Oak staff
Within this room were more magic arms, armor, and trinkets than any of them had seen before. One of every five items held a charge of magic. Despite their desires, they were instructed to take only what they needed. Almost every object they examined seemed like it might prove useful in some way. It was not until Bree, feeling drawn to a sheaf of polearms, discovered a dark oak wood staff covered in runes that they knew they had what they had come for. In her hands, the staff emitted a low hum.

As they returned to the shrine room, the warrior emerged out of the fog. It promised them safe passage out of the tower, assuring the group that the ghosts were at peace for now.

When Mara-kai went to collect Lam, she found not the human wizard who had recruited her to Luthien’s, but a changeling in Lam’s clothing. Unsure of what to make of this, the group took him anyway as they left for Lord Larien’s manor. The hidden door in the tower’s basement sealed shut behind them, glowing wards in draconic carving themselves into the stone.

After delivering their report to Lord Larien, they asked if he could help them in some way with Lam. He replied that he kept only a nurse on staff and that the nearest proper clerics were in Arislen. So away they rode, back to the city once more.

Daryn did not take well to being to being told that Lam may have all along been a changeling. He immediately locked up the guild hall and summoned an elven friend of his who interviewed every guild member until he was satisfied that none of them were also secretly changelings. Satisfied, Daryn said that he would handle disposal of the changeling’s body. The group protested, insisting on discovering whether the body they had brought back was, indeed, Lam or not. Daryn balked at this and refused to put up the money as at this point it did not matter to him. When the group offered to pay for the proper ritual cost to speak with the dead, he reluctantly agreed.

Taking the body to the library temple of Ioun, they made their request of the clerics there and paid with one of the ancient tomes they had brought back from the tower’s dungeons. In a small room, they laid the changeling’s corpse out on a table. The cleric spoke words of power and imbued the body with a temporary half-life. They put their three queries to the corpse and quickly confirmed that it had been Lam.

With one question remaining, Talendil spoke up, asking where the mage had hid his valuables. The changeling responded, “In my belt pouch.”

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Echoes and Whispers

Rested from their long walk back to Lord Larien‘s manor, the party awoke and discussed their next destination. It was settled that they would ride back to Arislen to help Azura return her fallen companions’ belongings and report back to the guild, then ride back to the tower ruins to explore further down the stairwell.

Despite Bree‘s desire to see Lord Larien’s daughter, Marie, to be certain of her well being, the Lord assured Bree that his daughter was fine, and that she was with her mother. He also insisted that her mother did not wish to be disturbed. Bree reluctantly left, though she seemed to still harbor some concerns and doubts.

Sylen found them short miles from the city. He waited for them in the middle of the road on his horse, but despite his hails the adventurers rode around him. He followed close behind them all the way back to Luthien’s guild hall. Talendil brusquely escorted him to the nearest tavern, where he paid a dwarf and a halfling to vacate the corner table. Mara-kai stood watch as the elf explained that he had been sent back to find them by the Lady of Winter, who was due to be married soon, making her the matriarch of the Winter Court. The group’s departure from Mithrendain had not gone unnoticed, and their continued involvement with the guild constituted a violation of the oath Talendil swore to her.

Lam found the trio and, after shifting his appearance, also found a seat within listening distance. Sylen said he wished to be forthright with Talendil, going on to claim he had knowledge of the Lady’s plans: she planned to strike at the middle world, to begin a new era of eladrin involvement outside of the realm of Faerie. His purpose in sharing this information, it turned out, was to request that Talendil not join her in this endeavour. Talendil readily agreed, and posed a request of his own for information on the death of the former Queen of Winter. Sylen provided him with three rumors before departing:

1. The Queen was murdered by the new Lady of Winter.
2. The Queen ran afoul of the Summer or Spring courts.
3. The Queen fell out of the Winter King’s favor.

Returning to the guild hall, they found Bree consoling Azura. Lam discovered that Sylen had visited the guild and suggested to the Daryn that he not be allowed back. He then collected the group’s reward from Jax, which included the original group’s award.
Ivy tower
A brief respite later, they were back on the road, and made good time returning to the tower’s crumbling foundation,which lay surrounded by empty plains.
Spiral staircase
They descended the spiral stairs into the earth, past the miles-long corridor and into a small basement room, which clearly had not seen life in living memory. A quick search revealed the inscriptions of a teleportaion circle carved in the floor. Further searching turned up a hidden door in the wall, but opening it provoked a lingering spirit to attack. The wraith nearly killed Bree, and sank its spectral claws into Talendil and Mara-kai, but the group was able to force the creature of shadow to disperse.
Small wraith
Through the doorway they found a dark hall, and as they neared the end of that hall, arcane runes flashed to life in the ancient stone floor. Glowing blue, they were identified as part of a warding spell, and that each pair would need to be unlocked in a proper order to pass safely. Lam made it halfway through the pairs before he attempted to disarm the wrong rune, causing the remaining symbols to flash red. A moment later, they flickered, then dimmed completely… just long enough for the group to think they had been disarmed before the floor beneath Lam’s feet erupted in magical energy, knocking the entire party off their feet.
Strange statues
Dusting themselves off, they made their way over the cracked rubble of the floor to another door. Beyond this door was an antechamber containing four pedestals and three other doors. Atop the pedestals were statues of strange creatures, with jewels inset in their eyes and other places. Lam immediately set upon one of them, trying to pry a gem out. This served only to awaken the statue, and it climbed down from its pedestal until the group left the room, passing through a doorway left open by someone or something that had long ago smashed the door down.

The room they entered appeared to be some sort of prison, now empty, all the cage doors left hanging open. Among the scattered remains of creatures they were unable to identify was a massive warhammer, with inscriptions in draconic, a rare and nearly dead language. In the corner of the room, Lam found an empty well, tossing a coin down to test its depth. In the room directly across from the prison they found the remains of an arcanist’s laboratory. Stone tables inscribed with runes, damaged alchemical equipment and the fragile remains of books on stone shelves were all that remained. Bree located a magical potion under one of the tables and Mara-kai and Lam argued over a pair of ancient tomes.
Dire rat
When Mara-kai left the laboratory after the argument, she was set upon by a dire rat that had climbed up out of the empty well in the prison room. Returning to warn the rest of the party, the rat followed her as did another of the dog-sized rodents. Neither caused much trouble before the group dispatched them, and then they turned their attentions to the large double-doors in the fourth wall of the antechamber…

Double doors

Quest XP: 75
Encounter XP: 700
Role Playing XP: 150
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 400
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 3,594
Bonus Individual XP:
TBA

Treasure and Rewards: 220gp, a Potion of Healing, two very old books written in Draconic, and a old warhammer with inscriptions in Draconic

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Stirrings in the South

On an otherwise quiet day, the front door of Luthien’s slammed open. Through the doorway and up the stairs strode a well dressed human man. He made his way directly to Daryn’s office, entered unannounced, and shut the door behind him. Shouting could be heard even on the main floor of the Guildhall. Marric Spellblade and Lam eavesdropped as the stranger gave the guildmaster an earful of complaints.

When the shouting was over, the door opened and Daryn asked Lam to gather his group together. Meeting in the common room, Daryn introduced the man as a landed lord and a long-time patron of the guild. He briefly explained that another group of adventurers had been sent to assist the man with a bit of trouble while they had been away and that group had apparently disappeared after accepting the job. He then went back to his duties and left the man to explain his situation personally.

Just over a week ago, his daughter went missing while off playing in the woods on the edge of his property. It was his belief that goblins were the culprits, as they had been spotted by the groundskeeper poaching sheep. The first group of adventurers who rode out to help him rode into the woods, only to never return. He desired to know where these delinquent adventurers disappeared to, but more importantly he was growing ever more concerned over the whereabouts of his young daughter.

Country manor
Accepting the task, the party rode out with him to his estate south of Arislen, where they wasted little time before heading out to the woods. They were accompanied by the groundskeeper, who said he knew of some ruins in the woods, where he believed the goblins were hiding out. Half-way to the site, they came across a lone white horse, clearly missing its rider. Sending the steed back with the groundskeeper, they pressed on and came upon the remains of a keep, where a small pack of goblins were arguing among themselves.
Ruined keep
An attempt to approach unnoticed did not go quite as planned, and they were engaged by the goblins, who attacked fiercely. One shouted a war cry, invoking Vecna. Despite their resistance, they were shortly put down. Near the back of the ruins they discovered a pile of bodies… the other adventurers. Among them was Azura, still alive. She explained that when her group found the goblins, there had been twice as many. She did not know where the little girl was, but offered her assistance, expressing eagerness in exacting revenge for her fallen guildmates. She noted that she had seen some of the goblins heading deeper into the woods to the south.

As the sun arced towards the horizon, its light coming filtered through the increasingly dense canopy above, the came across an ancient walkway, bordered by an equally ancient wall. In the middle of the wall, a pair of iron doors stood slightly ajar. Pitch blackness waited beyond the threshold.

Lam summoned light to the blade of Talendil’s sword, and they broached the darkness. Within, they found further ruins, what looked like the crumbling remains of a vault. Pillars lay toppled, and a chasm had opened in the ground almost half-way between the doors and the opposite end of the ruin. Beyond the chasm a sphere of violet-black energy swirled, illuminating a raised dais, weathered statues, and several small crypts made of bone.

They approached the energy cautiously, but as they crossed into the illumination, skeletal warriors emerged from the bone crypts, and were soon joined by stronger undead. As the party fought off their assailants, they determined that the sphere of energy was somehow responsible for the stirring of the dead from their graves. Lam attempted to disable it with a spell, which only caused the magic to lash back at them, cutting into him and his allies with necrotic energy while bolstering the undead. It was eventually determined that the necromantic magic was being anchored by two pyramid-shaped piles of skulls.
Forest ruins
The magic dispelled, they were left with naught but the thin light of dusk and the glow of Talendil’s sword. Searching the dias, they discovered a bloody stone altar. Bree determined that the blood was not human, much to their relief. After further searching, they found a switch that swung the altar aside, revealing a stairway leading into the ground. Leading with the magical light upon his sword, Talendil preceded the party into a small chamber, in the same sort of condition as the vault above. A brief ambush by goblins caused further structural damage to the room and the ceiling came down upon them, sealing off the stairway.

Making their way quickly through a pair of doors, they followed one of the goblins they had taken captive, who told them he would lead them to his “master”. Near the end of a hallway, a few short feet away from another set of doors, a hole had been opened into the earth. Ignoring the sealed doors, the goblin pointed to the breach and insisted that it led to his master. After tying him up securely, the party made their way down a small tunnel that had been carved out of the dirt, only to be set upon by more skeletal warriors after setting off a magical tripwire. At the end of the tunnel they discovered a cavern, dimly lit by two large braziers, where a shadowy figure held the lord’s daughter in thrall.

“Leave now, or join me,” the figure threatened. “I am raising a city of the dead to honor Vecna.”

Choosing neither option, the party attacked. They, in turn, were set upon by strange goblins with black eyes and long, ragged claws.

Despite the figure raising the goblins to fight for him again after they were defeated, the fight turned in the favor of the party. Talendil delivered a heavy blow to one of the goblins and then upturned a brazier upon it, giving it a fiery death.

The shadowy figure offered a cessation of hostilities. “You may take the girl,” it said. “I can always find another sacrifice.”

The party rejected this second offer, and Lam called elemental winds from the Foundation to send the figure flying up to the ceiling. Buffeted heavily by the strong winds, the figure collapsed. As he did so, the girl, until then frozen in place by necromantic magic, let out a bloodcurdling scream and collapsed, unconscious but alive. Pulling back the figure’s hood revealed a gaunt face, with sunken black eyes. The party identified the creature as a wight.

The only known exit sealed, the party tried the other set of doors, finding them jammed. A little muscle forced them open, which caused the rubble and dirt trapped behind to fall out upon those standing too close. Twice foiled, they searched for anything they might have missed, discovering a hidden doorway in the hallway between the twin chambers. Stale air and empty wall sconces were their only companions as they walked down a lengthy corridor for hours. At the end, they emerged from a spiral staircase to the foundation of what once had been a tower.

A long march through grassy fields led them back to the lord’s manor as day began to break. His daughter returned to him, the party retired on soft beds as his guests.

Quest XP: 150
Encounter XP: 2,218
Role Playing XP: 100
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 694
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 3,194 + TBA
Bonus Individual XP:
TBA

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Answering Questions With Questions

Tree library
The streets of Mithrendain twist and wind around the buildings of the city like ivy. The house guard assigned to escort Lam and Bree to the library navigated them with ease, taking them to the foot of an immense tree that soared into the canopy above. A branch-like bridge linked that tree to a smaller one, which in turn rose above the buildings surrounding it. The guard entered an arched doorway in the smaller tree, though Lam had fallen back and away when they approached it. Bree followed happily, and could only smile politely when the guard noticed the changeling’s absence. Leaving her with a stern talking to, the guard made his way back out of the library.

Meanwhile, Lam ducked between some buildings and took the visage of one of the eladrin before making his way into the library. Marric Spellblade, who had followed the trio from the tree-tower of House Savorin waited in the street for Lam to return, and found himself waiting for some time.
Eladrin scroll
Bree found a librarian who was able to help her research into the history of the Savorin household and the Winter Court. He guided her to tomes and scrolls heavier and taller than her. With the librarian’s aid, her investigations turned up several interesting facts, including that the Lady of Winter had not yet been crowned, the circumstances surrounding the former Queen’s passing (“food poisoning”), and the fact that her death had not yet been made official by the Winter Court historians.1
Script page
Lam pursued his own agenda, intent on researching the eastern temple, the items he and Talendil had acquired, and Asmodeus. He found Mithrendain’s resources on the history of the Vale frustratingly lacking. Much of their compiled lore came from the elves, before the time of the humans arrival there. When he turned his attention to religion, he also found that rather shallow. The eladrin had much more information on their patron gods than others. He did note Asmodeus elemental influences (fire and earth), however. On the subject of angels, the books told him that such messengers were used by the gods for all sorts of errands and tasks. He also learned that increased sightings of these divine servitors tended to presage significant events.

About the gem he lifted from the bandits, the literature had nothing specific to offer other than to comment on the difficulty of binding elemental beings and that such magic was made easier when using a gemstone and other components associated with each element. Talendil’s cloak, he learned, was an item of eladrin design, the creation of which is a closely guarded secret among the high elves and the possession of which is normally reserved for the nobility of the Courts. 2

Having grown tired of waiting, Marric made his way into the library and spent his time observing Bree. After a time, Lam appeared to her in his normal guise, and the two departed back to the Savorin tower, with Marric following behind.

While they waited on their companions, Talendil and Mara-kai were paid a visit by a very strange eladrin, seeking an audience with Talendil. The elf’s voice did not match his appearance, and once he was allowed inside their room at the tower, he divested himself of his cloak. The glamour faded away, revealing the golden haired eladrin to be a black-and-gold-clad goblin. Their unexpected guest told them that he could help them get away from the tower, and promised to return later after handing them four cloaks identical to his own.

They were also paid a visit by the house guard, still seeking Lam. The guard left more frustrated than he had arrived.

As twilight settled over the city, hours after the arrival of Lam, Bree, and Marric, the goblin returned and was surprised to find a fifth person in the room. Marric assured the goblin that it would not be a problem, but then discovered to his chagrin that his powers of shadow did not work inside the tower. The goblin offered up his own cloak and followed the adventurers out of the room, where the guardsmen lay unconscious. Leading from the rear, he guided them to the outskirts of the city. In a clearing, an eladrin of the Summer Court awaited them with their horses. He offered little explanation as he collected their cloaks (on “loan” from the Spring Court) and saw them on their way.

  • * * * *

Nearly two weeks after their departure, the group found their way back to Arislen and Luthien’s guildhall. Daryn expressed his surprise at their return, though the other guild members greeted them warmly. Lam recommended Marric to the half-elf who oversaw the guild’s more clandestine endeavors, and he was quickly adopted into the guild after a display of his abilities.
Ioun temple
Unsatisfied with their findings in Mithrendain, the group ventured into the noble district to seek out the Vault of Ioun. There, they learned from one of the Archivists that the eastern temple was the site of a great battle, and the seat of power of the gods Asmodeus and Bane during the the peak of the Citadel’s power. When the temple was sealed and cast into the mountainside, many people were trapped inside and thus buried with it. Two archmages from the Arcanaeum in Corydon were primarily responsible for the temple’s fate, though the records in Arislen’s Vault could not offer their destiny after that event. 3

Although they were eager to press on with their inquires, when Daryn asked if they would be remaining in the city, they decided to agree to stay, for the time being, at least.

1 If there’s anything I’m forgetting here, let me know.

2 See footnote 1.

3 See footnote 1.

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: 0
Role Playing XP: (A lot.)
Total XP Per PC For This Session: Level 3!
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 2,500
Bonus Individual XP:
TBA

Total Treasure For This Session: 16GP, 34SP, 8CP (looted from the unconscious house guards)

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Goblins, Dwarves, and Fae

GM’s Note: The title to this Log should be read in the same tone as Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. You’re welcome.

Several days passed as the adventurers made their way through the eastern countryside. The storm left what roads there were muddied. Brisk Spring winds pushed the clouds in the sky further inland and bent the tall grasses of the plains and low hills. They saw the smoke from the fires of Wargone long before they arrived there, and heard the music of the feasthall as it came into view over the crest of a hill.
Warforged sentry
Standing sentry at the gate were two men with skin of wood and metal. With their halberds crossed over the threshold, one demanded to know the party’s business before they would allow entry to the village. Lam responded first, mentioning commerce. The golems accepted this answer and their weapons parted. Beyond the wall the group found an industrious population of dwarves and goblins. They did not make it halfway through the village before a half-dozen goblins ran up to them and knelt beside Talendil’s horse. One announced that they were honored to have him as a guest, that he was most welcome at their city, and that they were at his service. At Talendil’s direction, the goblins saw to the group’s horses and the lead goblin, who introduced himself as Hoggle, escorted them to the large feasthall where they were served roast boar, potatoes, and mead.
Forge
The party spent the day in the town, each finding something to spend their time at. Bree lingered at the large communal forges, where dwarves and goblins alike worked at arms and armors. Her friendly charms coaxed privileged information out of a dwarven smith, who confided in her that the men of wood and metal were given life by infusing their bodies with elementals. Lam browsed the markethall, hawking the mercenary treasures looted from Ilnscrag. Talendil and Mara-kai met with a hobgoblin outrider who said he knew of a tree like the one Millen had described to them back at the trade post.

A stag was brought back by hunters for the evening feast; the bell at the Foreman’s Tower announcing the end to the day’s works. Hoggle shared his pouch of spices with their warmed mead and showed them to the visitor’s hall for the night.

In the morning, they joined the villagers for sausage in the feasthall. Bree joined a group outside when they went to greet miners returning with fresh ore and wood. Alongside the dwarves and goblins were several of the golem men, carrying heavy loads or assisting in pulling carts.
Temple cave
With their fast broken, the adventurers set out northward with their hobgoblin guide. By mid-day they had reached the forested foothills, and shortly thereafter they came upon an ancient oak, with bark the color of dried blood. Beyond the tree, a small cave led deeper into the earth and beyond that a waterfall cascaded over the rocky hillside, feeding a rushing stream.

Talendil paid the hobgoblin, sent him on his way back to Wargone, and the party approached the cave. From the shadows of the cave mouth emerged a goblin woman, clad in robes and eclectic jewelry. Around her neck, a bronze medallion bearing the eye of Ioun swung as she approached the group. “You’re early,” she declared.

Questioning the strange goblin, the adventurers learned the following: the small cave hid the large metal doors to the temple (which bore the symbols of both Bane and Asmodeus), the goblin woman was a seer and magic user from Wargone, in her visions the goblin claims to have seen the group at this location in the future and in her vision the group has more items beyond the cape that Talendil won and the gem that Lam found, that entry to the temple would require obtaining a key, and that there are others who seek entrance to the temple and thus also seek this key. When asked for more information, she told them that they may find more information in places of knowledge and learning. She claimed that the group was not yet ready, and that they should leave and return when they were better prepared for what lay ahead.

As the group made ready to leave, they found a small band of eladrin led by an elf standing near their horses. The elf introduced himself as Sylen, a tracker and emissary in the service of House Savorin. He disclosed that his orders were to escort Talendil and Mara-kai back to Faerie to meet with his employer, but was reluctant to reveal any further information. Despite the group’s misgivings, and a failed arcane volley by Lam, Talendil negotiated an agreement that Lam and Bree would be allowed to come with them if he and the genasi came willingly. With Sylen’s agreement, they embarked on another march of several days into the Fae Woods.
Mithrendain
Passing under a gate formed by the entwined branches of two old ash trees, the adventurers found themselves transported to the dreamland realm of the fae. The forest citadel of Mithrendain loomed on the horizon, and within hours they were given lodgings in one of the living tree-towers of the city. They found themselves isolated to one floor of the tower, kept in place by Savorin house guards.
Winter
A short time and a fresh change of clothes later, they were led up the tower to a throne room near the top of the tree. At the end of the long hall, a fair-complected eladrin sat on a throne which itself was raised up on a dias. The woman stood as they approached, her silken blue and silver garments and jewelry shimmering in the soft sunlight that filtered in through the high windows.

The Lady of Winter was the title she claimed, wife to the King of Winter, who lost his wife to an illness in the time since Talendil left Faerie. Her demand was simple: that Talendil and Mara-kai were free to return to the middle world, provided they kept out of the way and did not engage in any meddling there. The alternative was to be kept as her permanent “guests” in the tower, until such time she saw fit to reveal her intentions to him.

Talendil opted to begrudgingly agree to the former proposition.

Before returning to their rooms, Bree and Lam asked to be allowed to visit the city. A guard was assigned to them, and with some distraction from the affable halfling, the changeling slipped away to seek out the libraries…

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: ???
Role Playing XP: 100
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 294
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 2,022
Bonus Individual XP:
None.

Total Treasure For This Session: 0GP, 1 Scroll of Comprehend Languages

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Mercenaries: Part II

Ilnscrag
The day began with a sharp knock at the door of the small building the group had spent the night in. The knocking was accompanied by an announcement of a mandatory meeting that would be occurring shortly at the village inn. Neither the rescued villager nor anyone in the party were in any rush to show up, but Lam quickly decided to borrow some of the villager’s clothes and masquerade as one of the locals. The others decided to take advantage of the town being otherwise occupied and used the time to do some quick scouting of the area.

When Lam arrived at the inn’s common room, he found it crowded. On the small stage stood a human, flanked by other mercenaries. Two of them he recognized as the goblin and hobgoblin that were left behind the day before. The human made a brief speech about the fate of the trading post, offering mercy if those responsible turned themselves in and a reward for anyone who could assist in their capture. When nobody immediately stepped up, he went on to announce that everyone in the village would be put to work in rebuilding the post. Those who refused would be given a trip to the gibbet tree. With that, he dismissed the villagers, who left the inn muttering oaths and curses.

One man did not leave immediately, though. Instead, he visited the stage and inquired about what kind of reward would be offered for the arsonists. Lam took note of this.1

Talendil, Mara-kai and Bree had only just begun to explore the village (after waiting for their host to cook breakfast) when a hobgoblin emerged from the same building as the mercenaries they encountered the night before. They ducked down an alley when he started walking in their direction, but it was too late; he had already seen them. He approached them and instructed them to report to the meeting at the inn.

They had no sooner started in that direction (with no actual intention of attending the meeting) that the crowd dispersed into the main street of the village. The trio were approached by an older human villager, who took note of some unfamiliar faces in his town. He introduced himself as an elder of the village, and when the topic of the mercenaries came up, he suggested they retire to a safer location. Lam spotted his companions and followed them as the elder led them to a two-story building further down the street.

Once inside, the elder introduced the three adventurers to the other village elders: another human male, two human females and a dwarf male. They made a case for the removal of the mercenaries, while making it clear that they were powerless to do so. Content Not Found: marric-spellblade and Lam both made their way into the house during the conversation, in their own peculiar ways. Marric introduced himself as an escort of sorts, claiming he had been hired by one interested in Talendil to make sure he arrived safely at his intended destination.

After being promised a share of the mercenaries’ treasure, and learning that the group may be using a magical tome called a journeybook to dissuade any official investigations into the status of the former guard post, the adventurers agreed to see what they could do. A decision was made to wait again until nightfall to act, when the guard would be much reduced.

They moved on the house they had seen the mercenaries going and coming from, managing to subdue the sentry at the front door and make their way inside, where they engaged with two more soldiers before discovering a room with a hidden trap door. Descending into the basement, they discovered the wealth of goods that the mercenaries had procured. While they were searching for the book among the valuables, Bree remained above and spotted more soldiers coming down the stairway. She ran and alerted her companions, and they shut the door to keep them out. They made their way out of a window while something loudly slammed against the door.
A journal
Once outside, Lam asked his wind zephyr familiar to slip back into the house to open a window on the second floor, which they accessed with help from Marric’s grappling hook . On the second floor, the found a large room full of empty cots and a slightly smaller room with a desk. Within the desk they discovered a small journal, though there was still no sign of the journeybook.

There was, however, signs of activity in the streets below. The mercenaries had gathered outside, along with a large group of villagers. The human who had spoken at the meeting that morning demanded they show themselves. So, they did.

Journeybook
Talendil led the way down the stairs, only to find himself on the receiving end of an orcish arrow, which slammed into him and knocked him back on the stairwell as the orc ran outside. He recovered and led the engagement with the mercenaries, while the large group of villagers did their best to try to subdue them.

When the last of the mercenaries fell, Lam “encouraged” the villagers to disperse. Among the fallen soldiers was the goblin they had tied up the day before, on whose person they finally discovered the journeybook. They returned the tome to the village elders, while Lam secured some profits from the treasury.

A good night’s rest later, they resumed their journey eastward…

1 GM’s note: I vaguely recall there being some interaction between Lam and Marric but I don’t remember exactly what was done or said.

Quest XP: 60
Encounter XP: 850
Role Playing XP: 50
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 230
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 1,728
Bonus Individual XP:
Bree: 10XP (PC Portrait.)
Lam: 10XP (PC Portrait.)
Mara-kai: 20 (PC Background.)

Total Treasure For This Session: 100GP

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Mercenaries: Part I

Riding along the quiet road between the trade post and the village, the prisoner rescued from the gibbet tree filled the party in on the recent history of the Crossroads and its relationship with his village.

The trade post was formerly a guard outpost for the knights of Arislen. The soldiers quartered there kept watch for any threats to the city from the East, and occasionally visited the nearby village to purchase supplies and food. Around two months ago, a band of mercenaries rode into town and overwhelmed the guards there. They then moved on to the guard post and killed or converted the remaining soldiers.

Villagers were put to work digging the graves outside the outpost, which was converted to a trade depot. The mercenaries took up residence in the village and erected the gibbet tree to punish villagers who crossed them. The village became split over this new arrangement. Many accepted their new neighbors, arguing that they spent much of the money they acquired in the village, more than the soldiers of Arislen ever did. They also did a better job of protecting the village from bandits and wild creatures. Those not in favor argued that the mercenaries were violent and rude, and that anyone could be sent “up the Tree” for seemingly any reason.

The group spent the mile ride to the outskirts of the village debating how they might be able to assist. Despite suggestions of delaying, going back to Arislen, and otherwise not riding directly to the village, eventually they agreed to assess the situation. None of them wanted the village to bear the brunt of the repercussions of their actions at the Crossroads.
Village
They took up a position in the woods on the side of the road and watched as mercenaries and villagers went about their business. After a few short minutes, four armored men left one of the two-storied buildings and began walking out of the village and along the road towards where the group was hiding. The group followed the mercenaries – a hobgoblin, an orc, a human, and a goblin – a short distance until it was clear that they were headed to the Crossroads. Attacked from behind, the human and orc were killed but the goblin and the hobgoblin were captured for questioning.

Neither could offer any exact numbers when asked how many of their comrades were in the village, but the hobgoblin confirmed that they worked for Millen (whose whereabouts were unknown) and that he had run from the Crossroads to report back at the village, where he was told to return to investigate.

The goblins tied securely to a tree and divested of their belongings (except a dagger the goblin insisted on keeping in his boot), the group resolved to sneak into the village at night with the assistance of the prisoner they had rescued.

Safely inside the ex-prisoner’s house, they ate, drank, and tended to their wounds, making ready for what would surely be a difficult morning.

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: 525
Role Playing XP: 50
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 182
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 1,498
Bonus Individual XP:
Bree: 10XP (Background questions turned in.)

Total Treasure For This Session: 25GP

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The Crossroads

The crossroads
Rural farmlands reluctantly gave way to low, rocky hills and grassy plains as the group headed eastward. Two and a half days of travel brought them to a low rise along the lightly traveled road. Upon reaching the top of the rise, a curious scene appeared before them. A mushroom-shaped two story building sat huddled against a small but dense forest, juxtaposed with a towering metal structure where a dozen cages hung from metal arms that jutted out from the main shaft. Sunk into the ground nearby was a large pit full of recently turned dirt. Three humanoids moved about at the base of the artificial tree while scores of black birds flew around the cages. As they watched from their horses, debating whether to approach this strange place, a strong breeze swept up over the hill, carrying with it the scent of death and decay.

A quick survey of the landscape revealed little in the way of options but to go forward along the path and through this seemingly empty settlement. A steep, rocky hill rose up to their left and to the right lie the thick forest. Pressing on, they approaching the two-storied building slowly. They hitched their horses to a post near a cart parked by the front doors. The three hobgoblins by the gibbet tree paid no attention to them; they were busy taunting a man in one of the cages who was pleading his innocence.

When nobody answered a knock on the doors, the group entered to find a half-dozen dwarves bartering with a half-orc over owlbear furs on a table between them and a hooded man sitting apart from the negotiations. The main room was open to the second floor, which ringed the first. Crates, barrels, jars, and other goods sat gathered upon the walkway above. Not wanting to interrupt the discussion going on in the back of the room, Bree approached the hooded man, and asked for help.

He introduced himself as Millen, and named the half-orc Fulgrim. He had no information about the temple site the group sought, but did offer information of another sort. He possessed, he claimed, an ability to see a short time into the future. He pulled back his hood, and further claimed that this ability came from one of his eyes, which was completely silver. The removal of his hood revealed Millen to be an elf, and the elf promised he would look into their future for a price.

In exchange for their gold, the party was told to watch for an old, large oak tree that would stand near the place they sought. They were also told that they may find conflict there. When he was done with his divinations, Millen offered to sell them supplies or provisions. His offer declined, he then suggested that he had a special stash of higher quality goods, kept in the graveyard nearby. Suspicions arose, but Lam and Talendil agreed to follow the elf to this stash to see what he might offer. Bree and Mara-kai opted to seek out one of the dwarves who had walked outside.

The genasi and the halfling found the dwarf near the cart, and after chatting with him for a few minutes discovered that his group were hunters, trappers, and scavengers. They were headed east when they concluded their business at this trade post and the dwarf said he’d talk to the leader of their band about possibly joining up for a while on the road as they were headed in the same direction as the party.

Millen, pulling a wrinkled bit of parchment from his cloak, led the eladrin and the changeling to the depression in the earth that they had passed on their way to the mushroom-shaped trade post. He walked past several open graves and as many mounds of earth before stopping, grabbing a nearby shovel and starting to dig.

Watching the elf work, Lam and Talendil failed to notice that they were not alone in the graveyard. A dessicated hand grabbed at Lam’s shoulder and moments later he and the eladrin were engaged with a half-dozen risen corpses. Their shouts carried over the yard to the trade post, alerting Bree and Mara-kai. Talendil gave Millen a questioning look which was answered with a sly grin and a shrug.

The group just managed to dispatch the zombies, with Millen running off to the main building after catching the brunt of one of Lam’s spells. They gave chase, incensed at being misled. Lam, Talendil, and Mara-kai set to lighting the building on fire, inside and out. Bree managed to persuade some of the dwarves to not attack as the party entered into combat with Fulgrim and the rest of the dwarves who sided with him. The half-orc guarded the stairs leading to the second level, where Talendil spotted Millen standing and watching the altercation. During the battle, goods from the upper floor flew down to strike Talendil and Mara-kai. As they finished with the dwarves, the fires spread further up the walls and over the floor of the trade post. The party retreated out the front doors and Fulgrim fled up the stairs.

There was no sign of the half-orc, the elf, or the hobgoblins outside. A brief chat with the dwarves smoothed some tension but many were still upset over their main source of income being burnt down and were unwilling to be persuaded. The party would continue Eastward alone. Shouts from the gibbet tree brought their attention to the man who had been pleading with his captors earlier. In the other cages, zombies stirred. The human begged to be released. After he was freed and the undead dealt with, they agreed to give him a ride back to his village further up the road.

As they set out, he warned them that the reception might not be as warm as they might expect…

Welcome to level 2!

Quest XP: 0
Encounter XP: 1,700
Role Playing XP: 50
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 475
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 1,316
Bonus Individual XP:
Lam: 20 (Character background.)
Mara-kai: 30 (Character portrait, pictures in Dropbox.)

Total Treasure For This Session: 0GP

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A Day Off

After a night of celebration, Talendil, Mara-kai, Bree, and Lam retired back to their lodgings at the Guildhouse. The next day, Daryn’s assistant informed them that they had no assignments and thus had the day off. He suggested that they take the opportunity to explore the city, and while they were at it, they could do him a favor and deliver a package to a friend of his, a stamp and candle maker, near the city gardens. He also noted that a member of the city guard had dropped by early that morning to deliver a reward to Bree for taking action against the thief in the high city during the Race, and to ask that she stop by the Guardhouse as soon as possible.
Arislen gardens 1
With no pressing duties to tend to, the group made their way out into the dirt streets of the low city. A few stray clouds watched them on their quick journey to the gardens, and a cool spring breeze brushed over their faces. The gardens were watched over by a two-story house which, in turn, was watched by two private guardsmen standing near the front door. Stopping at an iron gate that surrounded the house’s courtyard, they called to the guardsmen and asked to see the stamp maker, only to be informed that the place they were looking for was a small shop a dozen yards behind them.

They delivered the package to a friendly, elderly gentleman with a long white beard. Bits of wax stuck in the gray hairs on his chin, he made small talk with the adventurers and pitched his wares until finally Bree purchased a pair of taper candles and they took their leave. Shortly, they arrived at the Guardhouse, nestled against the outside the wall separating Arislen’s high and low cities. There they announced themselves to a bored, young guardsman who handed them over to a senior officer. The officer took Bree down a flight of stairs into the holding cells below the house, where he asked her to identify the thief. She did, and he returned the favor, issuing threats and epithets at her as the officer escorted her away.

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The Race: Part II

After an unexpectedly eventful evening, the party returned back to Arislen by the light of the moon and retired back at Luthien’s. Early the next morning, they arose to the smell of breakfast, laid out especially for them. After eating their fill, they made their way to the southern gate, where the event would begin. There, citizens and guild members gathered to watch the race begin. The crowd there was small compared to the spectators along the routes, all ready excitedly awaiting the runners.

Near the edge of the moat, the guildmasters of the three participating guilds gathered. From that group, a raven-haired human woman stepped forth, unfurled a scroll, and called for the attention of those who would be racing this day. She read aloud the rules of the race, then bid the runners prepare themselves, as the competition would begin shortly.

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