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New Friends and New Enemies: Session 8
Interrogation?: Having secured our easy victory over the bandits, killing most of them but apprehending two, I decided that since we had captured them and killed all their friends, we should become their new friends! Or at least I should, since the rest of the party didn’t seem all that… socially adequate. Sure enough, their first idea was to interrogate the bandits. I said that I would help by interrogating one, and Tirondel took the other one. Anssi and Thomdril went off to try to find some game. The first bandit said his name was Blue or Bluebell or something, so I decided to call him Bluey.
Nickname Talk: I’ve found that it’s easier to keep up a consistent nickname scheme, which is another reason I dislike Tirondel. What should I nickname him, ‘Tirondey’? Or maybe ‘Tiyey’ (pronounced ‘Tee-yee’). It just doesn’t work as well as ‘Anssey’ (no pronunciation changes needed there) or ‘Thomdrey’ or ‘Ivey’ or ‘Tammy’ or my favorite one, ‘Snowy’. Or because ‘Thomdrey’ doesn’t really roll off the tongue, I could use ‘Shorty’ instead! Perfect!
Back to Interrogation: I talked to Bluey for a while, because it seemed like Tirondel was taking a long time grilling the other guy. I successfully sold him the cool rock that I had found worked well as a whetstone. I was sad to see it go, but at least I had finally sold something. Then I decided that we were good enough friends by now that I could trust him with one insecurity of mine. I asked him what the other bandit had said to me, explaining that I have slight hearing problems, but that I try to play it off like I don’t. He explained that the bandit had told me to drop my weapons, though in retrospect, knowing that really wouldn’t have changed any of my actions. It was a good fight, and that was something I’d been needing for a while. By that time, it seemed like the others were catching on that I might not be getting much information out of the guy (useful information, at least) so I asked him where they had come from. He told me that they had been part of a platoon led by some guy named Breckdon. Then Tirondel told me to switch who we were talking to, I guess hoping that this guy had kept information a secret from his companion? I dunno. Anyway, the other guy, whose name was Norman or something, didn’t really tell me anything of importance. Then we had to decide what to do with them. Tirondel said to keep them with us on our way to King’s Port, which I seconded, but Thom and Snowy wanted to let them go, which seemed like the best idea considering that Ivan would probably want to kill and eat them once he got back. We untied the ropes binding them and they ran off quickly.
Monster in the Night: Right as they left, Ivan and Anssi got back. They had found some food for the night. We searched for a campsite and found an okay spot, though kind of out in the open. As we cooked the animals and made idle conversation, Thom broke the normalcy by pulling a reddish stone out of his bag. I could tell even having never seen it before that it practically radiated power. I saw everyone else’s eyes being drawn to it too as in one fluid motion, he took it in his hand and forced it into his chest. He took his hand away and I could see it moving deeper into his chest, glowing ever more brightly as it did. Then Thom began to scream. Not knowing what was happening to him, I ran away to where I felt safe, and waited as we all watched him scream and writhe in agony. As soon as it had started, though, it was over, and I moved slowly closer as Snowy moved to him and looked at it. He told us that it was safe and we came over and looked at Thom’s chest, where there was a small bump where the stone had burrowed in and a slight glow to that area but no other indications of what had just happened. We took some time to speculate over what had happened and they explained the story of the blood stones to me, but then it was time for all of us to get to sleep, which we did after deciding watches. Before it was time for mine, though, I was woken up by a shout from Snowy. He was pointing into the woods where, a ways away, there was a dark, looming shape that looked like a creature of some kind, but bigger even than the bear from about a week ago, and whose silhouette was only visible because of the light that came from behind him, which as it faded out, I realized was a torch that Snowy had flung at him. I got to my feet and looked around for something to throw at it, but before I could find anything, the torch had gone out and the creature was no longer visible. We talked over what to do about it, and eventually decided to leave it be. When it came my turn to keep watch, I went around our campsite, looking for sticks. When I found them, I stuck them in the ground, making a sort of barrier between us and the monster. I figured that if they didn’t hurt him, they’d at least alert us of his presence. The rest of the night passed with no incident and we woke up ready to continue our journey to King’s Port. Then Ivan kicked a few of my sticks in obvious disappointment that he hadn’t been smart enough to come up with such a brilliant plan as I had, but I’ll leave it there for the biased comments.
Almost a Fight: We kept walking, and eventually came across a river. There was a broken down bridge in the middle, and a dwarf with a white horse was presumably dead in the wreckage. I tied a rope to a rock to make a makeshift grappling hook or something and threw it across, but I couldn’t catch it on anything. I told the others that one of them had to cross it first and then I could throw it to them and we could all get across on it. As soon as I turned around, though, Thomdril, Ivan, and Tirondel were climbing down to loot the body. Ivan found a warhammer and something else that I couldn’t quite make out while Tirondel took two shiny rings from the poor dead dwarf’s fingers. The three of them climbed up the other side, talking, as Blueberry (Anssi’s wolf, we haven’t been able to figure out a name for it yet, but I like this one the best of the ones we’ve considered) ran downstream and crossed some rocks to make it to the other side. I threw the rope to Thomdril and began climbing across as I saw Tirondel take the thing from Ivan’s hand and try to shove it into his chest, though he was blocked by many layers of clothes. I could now see that it was another blood stone. Then he goaded Ivan, telling him that if he didn’t believe in Solace, he should put the blood stone in his chest and see for himself. Before I could stop him, he reached his hand under his multitude of shirts and coats and stuck it into his stomach. Just as he was assuring us that nothing was going to happen, a shocked expression appeared on his face and he doubled over in pain. Finally, I was across, but it was too late. Anssi began to cross the rope too. He went slowly, hand over hand, but about halfway across, his hand slipped and he fell. He landed in the water safely, though, and began climbing up to us. I looked back over at Snowy, who for some reason, was stuck in place, staring horrified at the water. I looked at the others questioningly, and Tirondel, cursing, told me that Snowy had in irrational fear of water. Suddenly, a huge shape loomed up behind Snowy. The others yelled at him to cross already, but I wasn’t running away from a fight. I passed Anssi as I climbed down and ran through the river. Snowy had no other options but to cross the river now, the creature all but on him. He stared again at the water fearfully, walked forward… and just kind of walked over the edge and fell in? I’m not sure. Then I heard Tirondel and Thom shout that there were monsters on their side too. Unfortunately, I was stuck between enemies, unable to fight either one! As the others prepared for battle, I heard a rushing noise, and a huge wave of water came down the river, washing Anssi, Snowy, and I with it. Trying to keep my head above the surface of the water, I saw Tam pull Ivan in and Tirondel jump in with Blueberry. Thom was wavering, but as I went under, I saw him sheathe his axe and jump in after us. I clutched my axe and backpack tightly, careful not to lose them in the rapids.
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Sunless Lands
Session 3 Notes

Samuel - Hu F5 (Jer)
Marikus - Hu F5 (David)
Barnabas - Hu P5 (Duane)
Merriadon - Gn I3/T4 (Dustin)
Liam - Hu Cav6 (Law)

Geoff - Hu Pr4 (NPC)
Locinda - 1/2 Orc F3/Th3 (NPC)


Find two missing nobles (male and female siblings) who were apparently part of an adventuring band. Alive, remains, or signet rings.

-Signet rings recovered.

Discover source of mysterious disappearances around towns.


Black Riders


Day 6

Party returns to Bolden.
Barkeep says farmer family in Pinto vanished.
Spoke with Kriel the Sage about literature found in the citadel.
-Friedu found parchments for temple. One has code for secret door.
Sage wants all documents, scrolls, and books in exchange for code.
-Contract signed by party and bound by some form of magic.
-A number of magic items left with the sage for identification.

Half day of travel to Pinto
-Spoke with new captain of the guard.
-No news on family that disappeared. Valuables not taken.
-To Jester's Hall to get map from Tamus.
-Missing family's residence investigated. Nothing of note found.

Day 7

Begin traveling to temple location from Pinto. 1 day's travel through badlands.
-Worgs attack camp during 1st watch (Friedu mentioned wolf attacks); 2 are killed and 4 are routed.

Day 8

Locate path leading out of badlands and into crevasse.

Abandoned temple found - large stone double doors, crumbling columns. Markings on outside are worn and unreadable.

Inside the temple, the party begins investigating. Two rooms in, 4 black robed figures are found sleeping in a monk style cell room. One is awakened for interrogation but an alarm is raised. They are
adorned in black armor and wear ouroboros-styled holy symbols. The group attacked the party, dropping Locinda, but are dispatched in a few rounds. Locinda is revived and the party presses on.

More rooms of little interest are searched (with the exception of one room containing a mural of a divine being sucking souls from bodies and tossing husks off to the side) until the party comes across a room full of monks of the martial variety. The party attempts to parley but the Monks deride the heathen preists and take offensive stances. Merriadon starts immediately off with a color spray...catching Samuel and blinding him. The monk bent on attacking him halts, apparently held back by some form of honor code. Melee ensues with the rest of the party and Locinda is dropped once again. The monks attacks consist of both physical and psychic damage. After the monks defeat, the party rests and binds wounds before moving on.

The next room finds 3 more cultist warriors, one of which appears to be a captain of sorts. All are ready for battle. After the leader strikes at Liam, drawing blood, he enters some sort of frenzy. The battle is hard fought but the party pulls through, expending much of the day's healing resources.

Further down the same hallway is a room full of dead bodies and a floor thick with dust or ash. Touching one of the bodies causes it to turn to the same dust that litters the floor. Belongings that might identify them are collected.

The hallway ends in a room containing a large runic circle on the floor, drawn in chalk. Electing not disturb the circle, the party passes through the room and into the next.

This room contains bundles of incense, burners, and multiple amphorae/cisterns containing clear, foul-smelling liquid. On a rack there are multiple black robes. Merriadon considers taking a robe but realizes he is much too small to wear it.

Following a long hallway, the party finds what appears to be a large alter room. Two monks/cultists go about sweeping it. On the far side is dais with a sculpture of a large figure seated upon a throne. It appears to be the same soul-eating being depicted in the mural. The statue emits an evil aura that causes Good-aligned characters to slow and hesitate upon approach. The monks spring to attack while a third warrior that was in the room is instructed to "alert the master." The party soon finds that these cultists not mortal, shifting in appearance when seen from the corner of the eye and becoming tentacled horrors. Soon the master returns and calls for a parley but, knowing the elder evil he serves, the party is quick to take up arms once again. Liam and the master battle back and forth, fighting back from the brink of death a number of times until, finally, the master points at him and utters the word "Die." Liam falls. Moments later, Merriadon succumbs to his own wounds and Locinda is felled once and for all. Marikus, Samuel, and Barnabas rally, killing the master and then the final demon. Nothing can be done for Locinda or Merriadon. Miraculously, checking on the extent of Liam's injuries, Samuel discovers that Liam fell not to a Power Word but a simple Command spell - requiring only a small disturbance to awaken.

The remainder of the temple yet to be mopped up and explored, the party takes a much needed rest.
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Joining the Needy Party: Session 6
I, Belegor, was taught the basic of how to read and write and form complete sentences on paper as a child. My father didn’t think it particularly important, but necessary at times. Now that I had joined a party of adventurers, I see the need to write down stories about our adventures. Of course, I’ll be focusing more on my heroic deeds, and because I have no interest in writing down all the little details, I’ll focus on what I see as the highlights (or lowlights) of the adventure.
Joining the Party: When I first found the party, I had been hunting an ogre that I had heard lived up in this mountain. While I originally didn’t want to give up on this quest, it had been a long couple of days and there was a good chance that the ogre was already dead or had recently moved. The party members said that they hadn’t seen any ogre, and that I should probably give it up. I agreed, mostly because I was bored, and they said that I could join them, as a member of their party had just left them. I argued with the party annoyance, who said that his name was Tirondel, about which way was the right way to go to make it to Aragron. Finally, I tired of arguing with him and left the decision in his hands. He’s, I suppose convincing in that way, in that he seems like he can bore anyone into submission. We went on the path, and eventually decided that it was getting late and we might as well set up camp.
Setting up Camp: I tried to find one on my own, but they found a better place. We decided on watches, and two of the others (the guy with the dog, Anssi, and the murderous madman, Ivan, who seemed like a pretty cool guy) killed a doe for our dinner. It was a good meal, and once we were done, we got to sleep. I had taken an early watch, and I spent it trying to find a good rock to serve as a whetstone to sharpen my axe on. I found what seemed like a good one, and after using it on my blade, it seemed to me that it was even sharper than before. Impressed, I put it in my bag for later. I woke up to Tirondel trying to hide Ivan’s bullets. I argued with him over which way to go again, but still, there seems to be no way to make him admit that he’s wrong. During our argument, a big creature ran out of the woods and charged at Tirondel, who unhelpfully shouted “Bear!”
Wrestling the Bear: The others shot it and sliced at it, but I had another idea. I ran at it and gave it a giant bear hug (pun intended). I successfully restrained him, but keeping him down was another story. If you can believe it, bears are very strong. He knocked me off and I went tumbling away. Ivan tried to intimidate it by cutting his own cheek. It didn’t seem like the best tactic, but the bear was convinced. I prepared to grapple it again, but an arrow from Anssi took it down. I declawed it, thinking that if I couldn’t make a cool weapon out of them, I could at least make a cool bear tooth necklace. Annoyed that I hadn’t been able to deal any damage, or even successfully grapple it, I asked Tirondel where we could find another one. He irritatedly told me to go yell as loudly as I could to attract a bear or other wild creature to come and kill me, but to do it far away from him. I walked over to a spot a ways away from them and yelled, but no bears or other wild creatures came. I walked back to the others, who had finished butchering the bear. I volunteered to carry some meat.
Finding the Dead Horses: We continued on, and eventually made it to where the party had left their horses a while ago. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a single horse still living. They had either run away or been buried in a rockslide. I went to one of the ones that had been mostly buried in the rocks and cleared away a few rocks. Then I cut off its leg. I found a stick nearby and used my flint and steel to light the end on fire. Then we continued walking, me with my lit stick underneath my horse leg, hoping to cook it. After a while, I took a few nibbles. It tasted pretty good! I ate the part of the leg that had been cooked well, and then I extinguished the flaming stick and put the half burnt stick in my backpack.
The Burnt Cottage: After some more walking, we began to find some cottages on the side of the road. They were all burnt though, almost completely destroyed by fire. I couldn’t sense anything in any of them, but after walking by many of them, I heard some rustling from somewhere near one of them. Tirondel noticed it too, and warned everyone. He began to sneak around while I went to the other side and began to set a trap. I tied a rope to a tree nearby the burnt cottage and began slowly creeping around it. My plan was that if someone or something was behind the cottage, I could make a loop around them and my rope would tie them up. However, as I crept around, I became more and more sure that there was nobody directly behind the cottage. Maybe they were in the woods. At that moment, I heard Ivan yell “Tree mouse!”
Tree Mouse and Girl: Looking around frantically for the tree mouse that Ivan was warning us about, I suddenly saw Tirondel appear, seemingly out of nowhere. He had his sights set on a tree house that I hadn’t noticed before then, and he held up his hands. I heard Anssi (always the logical one) yell “Wait, Tirondel! There might be a person in there!” right as Tirondel let out a blast of flame right at the tree house. Sure enough, a small girl sprinted out of the burning tree house and into the woods. I looked angrily at Tirondel, and we all ran into the woods after her. After a while, we decided that Anssi should try to talk to her, so we went back towards the cottage. I looked for the tree mouse, but found nothing. Then we decided that it was safe for us to come back, so we went back into the woods and found the girl. She wasn’t talking, but she seemed willing to come with us, so the five of us walked out of the woods.
Summary: I got a cool rock, a half burnt stick, some bear claws, and a little girl. I also got to try out some horse and bear meat and I hugged a bear. My thoughts on my new party: There’s Tirondel, who you should never try to argue with because it’s pointless. Anssi, who is the smartest of the bunch and has a pretty cool dog. And Ivan, who’s kind of a madman, but is also very strong. I will continue to travel with this party, because if nothing else, they sure aren’t boring.
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Session 1: Drellin's Ferry & Beyond

“Now what?” asked Sergeant Hersk. The burly town watchman rose from his favorite log and peered up the road. Seems that two wagons were slowly making their way towards Drellin’s Ferry. “Sorry, Miss Candy. Duty calls.” The sergeant and his two fellow town guards, a woman and a man, picked up their spears and came to attention. Candy, their conversation companion did not stand. She had been aware of the strangers’ approach just slightly ahead of Hersk but it wasn’t her place to keep an eye on the road and so she could care less.

“Stop right there and state your business,” called out Hersk. He looked like an accountant in chain mail than a soldier with his registry book and quill pen.

“We have come to deliver goods from Brindol but were attacked by bandits between here and Terrelton,” said Trinique. Indeed, the four travelers did look a little bit ruffled and bruised. Especially the cowering driver of the second wagon. Their two wagons were devoid of anything except some feed, obviously for the horses, a few barrels of water and the personal items of the travelers.

“Bandits you say? Not Goblins?” Hersk seemed eager to hear about Goblins but bandits on the roads did not really pique his interest. Candy on the other hand was paying rapt attention and shushed the guard who was talking to her.

“Aye, bandits. We barely escaped with our lives, but they took all of our wares and killed the caravan master. We wound up burying him in a cave about a half day from here.” Trinique looked back at the assistant driver to make sure he made no indication that something else had happened.

“Well, you are lucky to be alive. Now that you are in Drellin’s Ferry, you are safe. And I like it to remain that way. The name is Hersk . . . Sergeant Hersk and you can find anything you need here in the town and we welcome all kinds as long as they are no trouble. Trouble will get you in my jail or dead if you understand me.”

Quinn spoke up, “thank you sir, we will not be any trouble. We are just looking for a place to park the wagons, get a good meal and a good night’s rest. We are not staying long as we are heading further west to Oakhurst.”

“Ah . . . apple seekers, eh? Okay.” The sergeant looked the group up and down and clucked his tongue. “well then, I recommend you stay at the Green Apple.” Under his breath, Hersk added, “Yeah, you look like Green Apple types.” He looked back at Candy and winked.

“Just park your wagons in the common and then walk due north and you will find the Green Apple. Tharrma serves a good meal even if the place is not very fancy.

“Thank you, sir,” said Quinn, Trinique and Sparrow in unison as they urged the draft horses back into motion.

“One last question, sir?” Quinn asked as the wagon started moving. “Is there a Druid in these parts?”

“Yes, Avarthel out at the Old Ones across the river. He is our only Druid. Young but talented and good hearted.” With that the sergeant turned to Candy. “I know I said for you to stay at the Old Bridge. I like the Old Bridge, myself and you seem to be a respectable sort. Those folks had a rough ride and look like rough folks. In fact, I don’t quite trust them, especially that obvious Brindol wizard who did not speak. Tell you what, I will pay you 5 talents if you will keep an eye on them until they show they won’t be any trouble today. Five pieces of silver would pay for a good meal at the Green Apple at least.”

“Sold,” said Candy. She was not sure why the sergeant trusted her, but people always had. That effect had been impacted by her training and it was very, very useful for her job. Candy was very, very good at her job.

“Are you following us? Quinn turned around and stared at Candy who was a few paces behind them.

“No, just going in the same direction. Beautiful day, eh?” Candy looked up at the sky and held her hands up, palms facing up.

“Well, it feels like you are following us. Sorry, my mistake.” Quinn reached out a hand. “My name is Quinn and you are?” The Druid noted that the person in front of her wore well-worn but obviously high-quality gear. Leather armor, a cloak with no obvious stains or tears, a well-kept mace hanging from a belt and a long bow whose ebony riser crossed her chest.

“My friends call me Candy,” the leather wearing woman said, grasping Quinn’s hand and giving it a hearty shake. “Pleased to meet you.”

By now, the party was standing in the green. Having helped the assistant driver with the horses and wagons, Trinique and Sparrow also came over and greeted Candy. They were not sure how, but the assistant driver had disappeared. At least he had not made mention of their recent combat to the sergeant.

“Well, you may not be following us, but we welcome your company,” smiled Sparrow. “We are bound for adventure and glory and it looks like you could handle yourself in the wild. What brings you to Drellin’s Ferry and are you looking for work? We split things equally in our crew. Except if we find my great grandfather’s Sryix. That I have to study myself.”

Candy looked puzzled. “What’s a Sryix?”

Trinique and Quinn looked at Sparrow. The mage coughed and then smiled. “Well, I am not sure, but I imagine it is worthy of magical study. As for other treasures, we will probably get all the gold you can carry.”

“Can I bring a wagon?” deadpanned Candy.

Sparrow stuttered a response while Quinn and Trinique giggled. “Um . . . I suppose . . . I am not sure how much that would be . . .”

Candy smiled and punched Sparrow lightly in the shoulder. “I’m just joshing you kid. I am always up for an adventure.”

The group had arrived at the Green Apple which was not exactly an elegant establishment, but it was moderately full with locals. Particularly Dwarves, Candy noted. Tharrma, the innkeeper, fussed over her patrons and made sure everyone was fed and comfortable. The primary fare was a mound of bacon piled high on a fresh baked small loaf of hearty bread. All of them but Candy partook. Thinking there would be nothing she would want, she was surprised when a plate of freshly made Elven bread and slices of apple appeared before her. They all agreed the food was delicious and soon it was time for bed. The group had a full day of it tomorrow ad decided that they wanted to see Brother Derny to see what he knew about Reslin’s tomb. Trinique was particularly interested in visiting with Sertieran, the town wizard and Sparrow figured a meeting with a fellow Brindol wizard could not hurt. Quinn really wanted to meet Avarthel, the local Druid who Sergeant Hersk had described.

The next morning, the party found Brother Derny outside his small church, berating a huge man in plain brown robes. “Jator! Did you really just spill every drop of this morning’s milk? Go back this instant and get more!”

When the large man turned, the group saw that he was a Half-Orc and it appeared as if he was going to cry. He grabbed two empty pails which were resting in the dirt at the center of a widening patch of mud and started shuffling away. “Mornin’ everyone,” the man said dejectedly as he left the area of the church.

“Oh. Excuse my manners,” said Brother Derny. He was not a large man but a rotund one and what he lacked in height, he obviously made up in personality so that his presence seemed much larger than it should be. He deftly moved to Sparrow and grabbed him by the shoulders. “You must be Sparrow. It is so good to finally make your acquaintance. Come in! Come in!” The priest led the group into the small church and sat them in the first pews they reached.

Derny noted his pleasure that Sparrow had made the journey safely and had chosen some companions for the adventure ahead. He explained that he was a historian of sorts and since he was a child had enjoyed the legends of Reslin Kine and his band of merry adventurers. When he had received the pages of the Old Journal, he had embarked on a quest to find a living relative of Reslin Kine and found that Sparrow was a student at The Citadel. Along the way, he had discovered quite a bit more about Reslin:

The intrepid Reslin spent many of his years as an adventurer in the western part of the Elsir Vale, having been born near Oakhurst (back when it was called Waystop). A life of exploring ruins and fighting monsters garnered Reslin a modest reputation and a modest fortune, enough so that he could retire young from the dangerous career to live out the rest of his life on his plunder. Unfortunately, the rest of his life would come too soon. It was only a week after he learned his wife was with child that Reslin fell ill to the malady which would ultimately lead to his death. He would be denied the chance at being a father, but he would not be denied giving his son his inheritance. In the few short months before his passing, Reslin spent his remaining energy, and plenty of gold constructing an elaborate, underground vault with the help of the legendary Dwarf, Durgeddin. The vault was secured in the mountain Skysplinter, its entrance hidden behind a waterfall. The entire thing was created in secret, and Reslin spared no expense in its making. He employed the talents of the skilled dwarves to carve out the vault, and the magic of wizards to secure its treasures. Upon its completion, Reslin ordered the majority of his wealth, including a Sryix – a magic relic of beauty and the crown jewel of Reslin’s finds – to be moved there. The vault was sealed with a magic ward thereafter. Reslin kept a journal (the only known, surviving pages are those that Sparrow now possesses) throughout the vault’s development, addressing each entry to Nero, his unborn son. The journal contained many of the instructions Nero would need to find the vault, enter undeterred, and claim his inheritance. Reslin entrusted the journal to his wife to give to their son when he came of age, passing away days after the vault was sealed. Nero would turn out to be Nera, for Reslin’s wife bore him a daughter instead of the son he had hoped for. While there was little doubt Reslin would have loved his daughter, the matter of her inheritance was more complicated. When Nera came of age, she was bequeathed the journal Reslin had kept with the details of his secret vault. The young girl had her father’s drive for adventure, and she soon found herself seeking out the secret place. In her adventures, she found Creed, a wily and muscular man a mere two months her elder. Nera and Creed were cut from the same cloth, sharing a passion for life and ad-venture. The two became lovers, then spouses then parents but before long, the pull of Reslin’s tomb swept them up. The two left together for the vault hidden in Skysplinter for a chance to stake a claim at its treasures within. Unfortunately, it appears that Nera was lost, and Creed returned a broken man. He gave up the adventuring life and settled down to raise his children, one of which was your mother, Sparrow. Creed apparently never spoke of what happened to Nera and he never remarried, dying many years later of a still broken heart.

Derny took a breath to make sure the group was following his tale. They were so he continued, “Many have looked for the tomb now and they have never found it. But I think that is because they did not have those pages. Do you have them with you Sparrow?”

The mage produced them from one of the many pockets in his robes and moved towards the altar. “Let’s spread them out here. I can move these old tomes . . .” Sparrow moved aside the candles and books on the ornate altar before Derny could stop him but not before the priest could form a withering stare. Sparrow was oblivious to the reaction, but the others held their breath. Derny moved the papers onto the floor in front of the altar. “No, they would be better down here,” he said, his voice trembling a bit in his shock and anger. “Oh yes, yes, right,” said Sparrow. Candy and Trinique stifled giggles.

“You see,” said Derny, pointing to the map on one of the pages. “there is a reference at the beginning to Razorfalls. That is the clue that no one else had. Razorfalls is now known as the Hollow but back in Reslin’s days it was well known as Razorfalls for the way the water cut through the rock like a razor. It is in the foothills of the mountain itself not on the mountain and is a small waterfall that has carved out a series of holes in the ground and a natural cave system below the surface. It is in that cave system that you will find Reslin’s tomb.” Derny stood up, crossed his arms and smiled smugly.

Trinique looked at the priest. “So why would you give this information to us and not find the tomb yourself?”

“Oh, because I am no adventurer. That is a young one’s game. Besides, I imagine that if our little parish is helpful to the recovery of a family’s prized heirlooms, that family may remember the assistance and take care of the parish as is customary.” Trinique nodded her understanding.

“Thank you, Brother Derny,” said Sparrow. I am sure that some arrangements can be made. For finding something as historically relevant as this, I imagine at the very least, the Brindol Academy will show its appreciation. We have taken up enough of your time and hope to get on the road to Oakhurst today.”

“But wait, Brother Derny,” Quinn spoke up. “Since we are going to Oakhurst, have you heard anything about the golden apple that they sell every year?”

The priest laughed. “Old wives tales put to use to sell tourism in a dying town I am sure. Oakhurst has nothing except the Hucreles’ propping it up. Seems to me that the apple is too good to be true and I have never seen anyone who has been healed by a metal apple. How would one eat such a thing anyway?” He laughed again.

“You have never taken the time to go check it out yourself, Brother?” asked Quinn.

“Why would I want to do that? Have you ever been to Oakhurst? Dusty. Lackluster. Totally devoid of oak trees despite the name. And lend credence to a tall tale? I have my flock to attend to here and that is both more pleasant and necessary.” The rotund cleric gave a full belly laugh this time.

“I bet you a krona that it is real,” said Sparrow.

“What? Derny sputtered. “I should not take your money.”

“Really. I will come back and prove that there is something to this legend. I can feel it.” Sparrow showed a gold coin to the priest.

“Okay, if you insist,” Derny smiled then shook Sparrow’s hand. Candy wondered why the wizard was so sure.

Sertieran's home was located on a bluff overlooking the river, on the north edge of town. The buzzing of bees was in the air and the warm summer air carried the smell of strawberries and the sounds of excited dogs. The party found the wizard at play with those dogs, all beagles, perhaps 20 of them, surrounding him and begging for his attention. As they drew near, Sertieran looked up and all of the hounds stood at attention and fell silent. The mage quickly sized them up as strangers but there was one that looked familiar.

"Trinique, I believe it is. Am I right?"

"You are master wizard. Well met. But I have not come on business for my father. We have a few questions of you if you would be so kind." The words were kind, but the tone had an edge. Sertieran responded with arrogance.

“State your business. I do not have all day for your kind, Trinique of the Black Knives.”

“Actually, Lord Wizard, I wanted to speak to you,” Sparrow had stepped forward and thrust his chest out to make more prominent his Brindol Academy badge. The two wizards then walked away from the rest of the group, deep in conversation. In order to get a better idea of what was being said, Quinn cast a speak with animals spell and attracted one of the beagles over to her. While the little dog was obsessed with food, it did trot over and sit and listen to the two mages but upon its return, proved a less than competent spy. Food, the obtaining of future food and something about a big pig were the focus of this dog whose name was Isabel. Quinn could not help but show a bit of disappointment. Candy patted her on the shoulder and said at least it was good for a laugh.

Sparrow later filled them in on the whole conversation anyway. Sertieran was at first confused that Sparrow might have been sent by the Citadel to collect the golden apple but thought the sale would have occurred already. The wizard claimed that the Brindol Academy had been buying the apples secretly for the last several years, always paying top dollar but its efforts to find out the source had been stymied. Sparrow had also asked about Reslin Kine and though Sertieran recounted a story of Reslin and the Wild Boar (which was another name for his Half-Orc friend who had started out as an adversary), he had precious little to offer. He also said that he would need 200 krona and a few days to fashion a potion of water breathing at Sparrow’s request, but the price was too steep. It seemed that if he had been alone, the price would have been a bit more reasonable but Sertieran hinted that Trinique and her family could afford a bit more than the usual price. As a final note of interest, before rejoining the group, the mage told Sparrow to be careful of trusting Trinique as she came from a well-known family of miscreants and killers.

Before the group left the wizard’s yard, Trinique asked a favor. “If I pay for all room, board and materials, would you be willing to take in my little sister, Jasmin as and apprentice?” The wizard eventually agreed, noting that even if he had no magical talent, he could probably use some help with cooking and taking care of the beagles. The two shook hands on their agreement and Trinique vowed to send her sister as soon as possible. A great weight was relieved from her shoulders knowing that soon she would get enough money to free Jasmine then would be able to provide for a safe place where she could discover how to protect herself.

Figuring that they would pay less if it was just them and no horses or wagons, the group decided to use the ferry then find a stable on the other side. From the ferry landing, the old stone pylons of the once mighty Dwarf Bridge stood out in the rushing river. Two enormously thick ropes spanned the Elsir River here, affixed to a huge wooden capstan. A pair of draft horses harnessed to the capstan turned the device, drawing the ropes, to which a large flat-bottomed barge — the ferry — was secured. Another capstan and team on the far bank worked a second ferryboat, if needed. When drawn by two horses, the ferry crossed the Elsir in just over 6 minutes. The boats themselves were 30 feet long and 10 feet wide. A stable by the riverbank housed the draft horses, and nearby work sheds held spare ropes and various other materials for keeping the capstan, barges, and hawsers in good repair. The ferry was operated by Drathgar, a great-grandnephew of old Drellin himself. At least that is what the captain today said. This one was named Doranda and she was some relative of the ferry owner. Drathgar himself was away on business in Brindol City. He employed about two dozen assistant captains, horse-handlers, carpenters, and porters to run and maintain the ferry. It cost 1 talent to cross on foot, or 3 talents with a mount so Trinique was right about saving money. By long-standing tradition, Drathgar doesn’t charge townsfolk for the first two crossings they make in a single day, but it was clear that the party was new to Drellin’s Ferry, so they paid a total of 4 sp.

Right before they got on the ferry, a town guardsman approached and spoke with Candy quietly. He gave her a small leather pouch about which Quinn inquired. "Gambling debt he owed me," Candy said. With no reasons not to believe her, the party forgot about the exchange and enjoyed the ride across the river.

The stables on the western bank were a part of Sterrel’s Provisioning, a decent looking store for all manner of supplies. However, the owner, Ben Sterrel, said that he only had one draft horse and one cart for sale and together, he would sell them for 62 krona and not a florin less. The group agreed to give 12 krona of coins and the bloodstone to Ben in return for Daisy, the draft horse who looked past her prime, and a small cart with wooden and steel wheels. Quinn took the time to use her ability to speak to animals and found out that Daisy the horse, while appearing old and swaybacked, was full of vigor and eagerness to do some pulling. Quinn picked a large wildflower from the area and stuck it behind Daily’s ear and told her how pretty she looked. If horses could blush, Daisy would have. She neighed her approval and thanks and the group left content in the noon day sun.

When the party arrived at the Old Ones, a group of ancient standing stones, they found the trees and flowers to be much more vibrant than the ones around the village proper. Not that there was anything wrong with the foliage around Drellin's Ferry; it was beautiful and well maintained ed universally by the townspeople. But the trees around the standing stones were much older and larger and the aura smelled of the many blooming flowers exalting in the radiance of the silent stone tablets. Clearly, this was the mark of a talented Druid. And there he was, I possibly young but it was clear that he was Half-Elven with his slightly pointed ears and flawless skin. Who could truly guess the age of one who shared Elvish blood?

Avarthel was gentle and kind, instantly recognizing Quinn and as adherent of the natural faith. She saw that he was a Keeper of Eth and a memory of her home in Witchcross flitted through her and she was at peace in Avarthel's presence. In their conversation, it was clear that he took a liking to her as well but then Sparrow spoke and asked about magical elixirs that could help one breathe underwater. A dark cloud crossed the Druid's face and he immediately assured that he knew the rules of Brindol and Dennovar and sold no magic other than healing draughts and farm blessings to the local populace.

"No, you have it wrong, friend. I am not trying to trick you. I do not represent the Academies," Sparrow pleaded. But it was too late. Avarthel was skittish and wary of a trap. Sparrow knew that there was no love lost between the users of arcane knowledge and those that derived spells from the divine. He rather enjoyed discussion and debate of how the two were related but he could see that he had gotten off on the wrong foot. The party settled for obtaining a healing kit from Avarthel and the ingredients to make both an antitoxin and a healing potion. Quinn was taken aback by the generosity but Avarthel was adamant that they take the supplies. Quinn pressed a Deus into the Druid's hands and said to keep it safe until her return or use it for charity, whichever he thought best. He smiled and held onto her hand a little longer than necessary then blushed. He hurriedly thanked her then gave a small blessing of Daisy, noting how beautiful the flower behind her ear was. The party departed the Druid's company, glancing back more than once to see Avarthel still waving goodbye and good luck.

“Wake up!” hissed Candy to Quinn. “There is something in the woods.” Quietly, the Druid and Ranger woke their sleeping companions. After they had agreed to move away from the main road to make their camp, they expected the night to be quiet. It was a warm, summer night with a full array of stars in the sky and the first two watches had been uneventful.

The group stood arrayed around the embers of their campfire facing outwards. Noise was getting closer from the south east and it was definitely not a normal animal. “Perhaps it is a wounded deer,” said Quinn. Trinique looked at her skeptically. Sparrow said a few words in some unknown tongue and a bright light sprung to the tip of his staff, yet they could still not see anything. Taking his queue, Quinn too muttered some words and a section of the darkness was banished by dancing eerie green lights. Emerging were two shambling, roughly humanoid batches of sticks and vines. If a tree could walk, this was what it would look like.

“What in the Seven H . . .” started Trinique.

The tree creatures were close enough that the snapping and twisting of the twigs that composed them could be heard and they were heading straight for the campfire.

“Hey!” shouted Quinn. “Go away!” A ball of orange flame appeared in her hand. The twig creatures appeared undeterred. Trinique moved quickly to her side with a rapier drawn and Candy let loose with an arrow, but it went awry and was lost in the darkness. One of the creatures reached out at Trinique and wooden claws that were as sharp as razors raked her, piecing the armor that protected her shoulder and drawing blood.

The combat was quick and brutal, chaotic and obscured in darkness. Flashes of fire were thrown by the Druid, inadvertently starting several fires around the fight. In the swirl, Candy’s arrows continued to miss their mark and Trinique was hit again. Quinn launched a fireball that landed in the crown-like structure on the head of one creature and for a second, time stopped. Neither side knew what the effect would be but then time resumed, and the fire raced down the creature’s body, streaming a glowing path of sparks from inside. With a whoosh, the creature exploded in a shower of glowing embers, covering both Quinn and Trinique with ashes. In her next move, Quinn attempted to push the other creature into the flames, but she was manhandled instead. The creature grabbed Quinn with both claws and its vine-like fingers dug deep into her as it pulled her close. But then, like a flash, Sparrow rushed forward with his staff raised above his head. With a warrior’s cry that even he did not know existed in him, the iron shod stick crashed into the tree-man and split it in two. Quinn noticed a strong hint of apples as the branches fell off around her.

After the fight, the darkness took over again and the night was silent. Though the group rested uneasily, they did rest and restored the powers they had used the day before. In the morning, they were quiet and went about the business of breaking camp then getting back on the road. Though it was a gorgeous day, no other travelers were seen on the road. The terrain changed and became dustier and rockier, not providing the oak trees they expected in a town called Oakhurst. Candy commented that they must be getting close as Oakhurst was the last town before entering the Thornwaste. The rumor was that the Thornwaste was also known as the Ashen Plains and had been created by the ravaging of Tiamat herself when she was summoned centuries ago. She was only defeated with the combined force of Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Orcs who opposed her. Now the vast wasteland was the host of unimaginable horrors including the Ghostlord, the spirit of a powerful sorcerer who once served the evil dragon goddess. The story raised goosebumps on Quinn’s neck and took a few minutes to shake.

As night was falling, the group arrived in Oakhurst, which was not as they had expected. Instead of a festival, they found the populace somber and guards were posted on the edge of town. A light shone down on them from the old tower overlooking the road into town and their approach was challenged by several serious looking guards with spears and short swords. From the guards and the patrons of the only inn in town, The Ol’ Boar Inn, the party discovered that the apple had been stolen and the buyer attacked by black robed figures who disappeared in a puff of red smoke. Some thought they heard the black clad figures speak Goblin to each other, so the crowd became upset with the small group of Goblins who had brought the apple. A rock was thrown, and a brawl ensued, leaving the Goblins dead and a few townspeople injured. The buyer had paid the Goblins 500 krona in gems and coin. Curiously, the buyer had the badges of both Wizard Academies in her pockets and lots more gold and gems. At least another 500 krona worth. Once cooler heads prevailed, the Town Council was quickly called. Four young adventurous types left with a few others to pay weregild to the Goblins. Talgen Hucrele (a trained fighter) and Sharwyn Hucrele (a Dennovar trained wizard), brother and sister, and children of the wealthy Hucrele family led the way. The Oakhurst heroes pledged to smooth things over and should be back within four days. That was a day ago.

Session: Game Session 1: Drellin's Ferry - Friday, Dec 14 2018 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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It’s a Miracle We Aren’t All Dead (Session 5)
Finally, we seemed to be safe. I tried to heal Snowy, but he assured me that he had it taken care of and sure enough, after mumbling a few words his wounds almost completely disappeared. I was very relieved, though my feeling of peace at last was cut short.
“Come on guys, we have to hurry”, came the always irritating voice of Tirondel.
Still, I wasn’t willing to waste time telling him off for yelling at a man who had been, just ten minutes ago, almost dead. We continued on, with me still leading the way. There was a glimmer of light a long ways down this tunnel. Eventually, we found the source. The tunnel opened up into a large cave. The ground sloped down, looking like there used to be a pond or something here. It was completely dry now, though, and there was a fire going to our right. Near it was a horse that had several bites taken out of it and looked disgusting. There were no other signs of life, but we proceeded with caution, knowing the chances of it being uninhabited were very low. Tirondel went towards the horse, Snowy stayed back with Anssi, and I led Thomdril to the other end, which as we moved on and my torch lit up the darkness, we saw had many different tunnel openings. One went straight forward in front of us and when I strained to listen for sounds, I heard a low growling coming from down it. I relayed this information to the others and decided to scout ahead. I put out the torch and slowly walked forward, taking care not to make any sound. Just then, I heard a loud crack from behind me. Turning around quickly, I saw Snowy, who it looked like had just trodden on a stick, making the loud crack. I put my finger to my mouth and continued to creep forward. I made it to the opening of another tunnel leading to the left from the tunnel that had led forward, the one that I had heard the growling from, and I peered around the corner. There were wolves, trapped in a wooden cage. They were pushing against each other and the sides of the cage, growling all the while. Breathing a sigh of relief, I looked farther down the tunnel. What I saw frightened me down to my bones. I saw a few orcs who appeared to be guards and past them was what looked like an entire civilization of orcs, with several dozen at least. Realizing that going down there was certain death, I went back to tell the others about this. Tirondel, realizing that nothing good would come of observing the horse I suppose, had come back to us and we all grouped up and talked it over. Anssi and I had the obvious plan of looking down the other tunnels for a different way out. There was no way that even Tirondel would argue this, I figured. But no. Tirondel said that what we should do was try to sneak down the tunnel, past the orcs. He convinced Snowy to his side, and though Thomdril seemed to agree with both of our plans, when we pushed him to choose one or the other he chose Tirondel’s plan. By this point I was just done with all of their idiocy. Even so, I couldn’t leave them. They (except for maybe Tirondel) were my companions, my brothers in arms. And so, we went on our suicide mission, with Thomdril leading. We managed to sneak past the guards and saw a side path that led to an opening to outside the mountain. However, this path went around a large open area. In the area were all the orcs. If just one saw us, we would be dead. In the very middle of the orcs was what looked like a giant spike going into the ground. As many questions as this raised, I couldn’t dwell on them. We had to get out. We continued sneaking along. We got about halfway before an orc saw us. He shouted, “Hey!” and pointed at us. We found ourselves facing all of the orcs. Certainly a nerve wracking situation if there ever was one, but somehow Thomdril got his wits and began talking to them. Before long, though, it became obvious that he wasn’t the greatest negotiator, so Tirondel began feeding him words. The orcs seemed to be swayed by his words. They looked at what looked like the orc chief for orders. The chief deliberated, and finally had his verdict. We would leave immediately, and if we were ever seen in the mountain again, we would be killed. Happy with this, we got out as fast as we could. I knew that I would never live this down. Tirondel would brag about this forever. Thinking this, I sighed and we began trudging down the mountain.
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