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The Fight We've All Been Waiting For: Session 15
Preparations: The others decided that we wouldn't be able to carry very many baskets of kelp back up after we collected them, so Tirondel and Snowy went off to hire people to carry them for us, in exchange for a bit of the kelp. While they did that, I went with Thomdril to try to trade my leather armor and knife. He reluctantly went along with it, but once we were away from the others he refused to help. I found some deals, but I wasn't very good at talking with the people and he was too busy looking at people's feet, so I wasn't able to trade my stuff. Tirondel and Snowy had a bit more luck though, getting eight people to join us for the amount that we had wanted to pay. Among them, I noticed Kellen Sirdur, a dwarf that had worked on my father's farm with me.
The Journey to the Kelp: We got plenty of baskets from the nerd guy who had assigned us our quest and set off. Unfortunately, it took three hours just to get to the place where the kelp was. That's probably why nobody had taken the quest before us. As we walked, Tirondel went way up in front of all of us, Snowy led the single file line a bit behind him with his fiery sword providing light, Thomdril took the middle of the group of hirelings with a torch, and I covered the back with a lantern. I talked to Kellen along the way, catching up with him and recalling old stories. As we got bored, I picked up some stones and handed some to him. As we walked, we threw them at stalactites. It was good to finally find someone who was a bit like me. I was reminded of all the people that weren't like us, though, when Tirondel ran back to us, reprimanded us for throwing rocks because he was afraid that they might cause enough noise for trolls or other dangerous creatures to hear us, and then he ran back up in front of all of us. Of course, that was half the point of doing it, so we ignored his warnings.
Finally, the Trolls!: As we walked along, we noticed puddles on the ground, appearing more and more frequently. When I looked closer at them, I realized I couldn't see the bottom of many. Then I heard a yell and saw that one of the hirelings had tripped on a rope in the water and fell. Snowy cut the rope and helped him up, careful not to touch any water. As we kept going, I took some of the rope and put it in my pocket. Then I saw a shadowy figure emerging from a puddle near me. I grabbed my axe and held it at the ready. Emerging from the puddle came two normal sized trolls and one giant troll who looked to be the leader. He seemed to be coming specifically after me, which was perfect, but the others had no such reservations. Kellen ran back through the tunnel and the giant troll and a normal troll attacked me, but the other normal troll attacked the other guy who had stayed with us. Snowy, Tirondel, Thomdril, and all six other hirelings were somewhere ahead of us where I couldn't see them. As Kellen and the other guy with us ran back and fought the normal troll that chased them, I was in a stalemate with the other two trolls. I wasn't able to damage them, but they were slowly chipping away at me. Meanwhile, I heard sounds of the others fighting trolls too farther down the tunnel. I heard anguished screams from trolls, so it sounded like they were doing quite a bit better than I was. Just as I was about to fall, I got a sudden spurt of adrenaline. I felt as good as new, and I went berserk with anger. I struck at the trolls, knocking the normal one down and severely damaging the giant one, who retreated a bit. I ran back to help Kellen and the other guy, and the three of us took down the troll that had been attacking them. I cut off his head so he wouldn't be able to regenerate, which apparently the trolls that I had attacked earlier had done, because when I got back to where they had been, they were gone. I looked for the others, and their battles were over too. Many trolls had escaped, but we still were able to collect many troll livers and even some crocodile meat from some crocodiles that had attacked the others. We had lost one hireling in the process. Unfortunate, but better than I had expected from them. We filled up nine baskets of kelp between us and the hirelings, and filled two more up with troll livers and crocodile meat. Then we began the long trip back.
Reaping the Small Rewards: We sold the troll livers and all of the kelp that the hirelings didn't take to the sun priests and each got a bit of money. Not much, but decent. The crocodile meat we would save for when we were bored of fish and bread, and wanted to try something a bit... gamier. "Well Thom," I said. "I think now we're ready to fight the Red Ragger."
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Our New, Boring Home: Session 14
Getting Situated: We were brought or dragged through some tunnels by the resistance, we made it to... what looked like a dark cave. After my eyes got used to the darkness, I could see that there were small sparks of light all around. It looked like there were a lot of people, but it was nothing like the thriving town that Kings' Port had been before it was destroyed. We waited, and a sun priest told us that we would get a fish and bread for each meal, and probably some other things. We decided to figure out what the economy was like, because Tirondel and Snowy thought that it might be different seeing as all resources were more precious, so we might be able to make a quick buck.
Swindles and Bombs: Sure enough, everything cost more and was in short supply. I was able to trade my trashy greataxe for a new set of armor. Chain is heavier, but it looks just as good as the leather that I've had for a while. It's a big change, just like everything else here, but I'll get used to it. Ivan was able to trade my healing potion from the prison for a bigger gun, some ammo, and most importantly, a bomb. They weren't sold with the other stuff, but Ivan found some dwarves with all the things he loves. They told us that if we were a new group, we should find a mission to go out and do something to earn money and renown. I heard fighting, and I heard money. I tried to convince the others to go get a mission, but they wanted to get some information first.
Stories, Not A Cool Mission: We went to the makeshift bar and the others found a guy who seemed to know a lot. They talked for a while, and he told us about some people who could pose a threat to us in the future, like the Red Ragger and some others. For all he told us, the others decided that we could tell him stories about us too. Reluctantly, I told them a story about a girl I met once. She was nice, but I couldn't stay with her long. After my story, we left the bar, hopefully to go do something exciting. It couldn't get much worse than waiting, haggling, and talking for a whole day.
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The Sixth Passage

...It was determined that Quill did, in fact know something. This was established to be a moot point as 2.5 members of the remaining party did not, and were perfectly contented to make up their own explanations for the situation.

...Ilitica entrusted the party with the knowledge that a High Priest of the Church of Three - Jessime - has conspicuously vanished from his diocese in Roun, supposedly between there and the woodlands near Ellis. Magical determinations of his whereabouts have thus far been to no avail.

... The herbicide of Ellis - known now as Agent Green - was found to be afflicting everything within one mile of the village, despite only being spread to the extent of 1000 feet. Trees were nearing death standing, underbrush wilted to nothingness, soil showing no sign nutrients, air was stilled and empty from all sounds of life. While in the village itself, the Agent Green was found to further afflict the people by ways of the produce and the air; the vapors accelerated by the burning of polluted cords of firewood. Strangely, the poison was found to primarily affect the mind, endowing a single-minded certainty before all reason. Lifting the affliction from the village elder gained the party free range to investigate and purge the poison, purifying the Ellisian foodstocks and uncovering the lab where Leopold distilled the tainting liquid. Besides the corpses of the village's previous clergy, the party found clear signs of demonic influence; abyssal mushrooms, unusual and uncomfortable indications the clergy's death, spines in the corpses indicating postmortem manipulation, and a symbol along the wall rank with the residue of planar travel. Quill took note to harvest a selection of the atypical mushrooms, while Mersire collected a sample of the distilled poison for experimentation purposes. Purging the remaining lot with a rain of holy water and reintegrating the corpses with the land, the party likewise neutralized the Agent Green with blessed waters, rendering it ineffectual without its vile components.

... The party departed Ellis to continue their pursuit of Lyle, the gray tiefling, leaving behind Wrunukt and Dobul, who refused the accompany Ilitica ("the cops, the MAN, the authorities). Tepra also left instructions with village elder Cary to fell and haul a series of trees towards the lairs of the hibernating perytons for the purpose of sealing them in, and to cut a ring around the edge of Agent Green's influence so they can establish a controlled burn of the timbers within, restoring the nutrients to the soil.

... The party travelled down the road to Roun, a fortress-city and one-time dragon lair still primarily populated by kobolds. Within the fortress monastery the party encountered Ilitica's investigative partner Nadiznya - or Naz, for short - and between her and the guard captain Hiida, found that the priest Leopold and was still belligerently holding up at the outskirts of town where he was hawking a disturbingly scented liquor. Also Spiders. Many abnormally large spiders.

... Half an hour was dedicated to bartering for lemons, in a fortress, on a mountain, that was once a white dragon's lair, on the northern side of the continent. Successfully. They were quite pricey.

... The party, accompanied by the paladin Naz, proceeded to the garden district to investigate Leopold's last know location. Wandering into the lemon greenhouse, Naz detected a vile influence afflicting the city's crops.

... The vile influence turned out to be spiders. A whole lot of hatching infernal spider eggs. Quill called them Neogi.

... The lemons are under attack.
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The Fifth Passage
The party cautiously approached the village of Ellis, warned so by Tepra upon noting how there flew a deviated flag of Pelor's symbol upon a red field. Dividing the party to investigate further, Izetti, Tarquinius, and Quill advanced to the village center, learning that said village was currently barricaded and under assault from an unknown entity. Sending a pantomimed warning to Mersire, Tepra, and the goblinoid thief pair, the exterior four hurriedly sought shelter within the village, harried by the entity.

Within, the party discerned the village's assailant to be predatory perytons which appeared after they undertook the teachings of the militant Pelorian cult. The hypothesis for their enhanced aggression was the village's application of a curiously powerful herbicide, destroying the natural cover of foliage and exposing them as easy prey. Determining the general direction the perytons were ranging from, the party set off to dispose of the creatures.

Along the way, found victims of the perytons were seen to deny the natural influences of rot that beings of the cycle would be subject to. Purification by fire seemed to resolve the issue. Likewise, the villagers were found to have been exceptionally prolific with their herbicides, decimating an unnecessarily wide swathe of the forest. This, however, was found to be and issue for another time.

Uncovering the perytons' abode, the party found a flock in hibernation with two more still active. Upon dispatching the pair, the party fell into a discussion over how to eradicate the remainder, when on the horizon they spied a concernedly portly man approaching astride a worryingly exhausted pegasus. He introduced himself as Ilitca.

Ilitica then proceeded to exposit at length - from there and for most of the way back to the village of Ellis - in exchange for inquiring as to the party's role in recent events concerning the cult of Mephistopheles in Prinlac. From this the party learned of the enforcers from the Church of Three (specifically this pair of Ilitica and Naz), some formal information on the perytons, the name and whereabouts of the Pelorian cult's local leader, and the casual - if rapidly silenced - acknowledgement of Quill as a warforged.

More important than all of this, however, is that this is the day that Mersire learned she's furry.
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Day 1: Arwick’s dead, and we’ve all been put in a room barely big enough for all of us to fit in. We’ve gotten a bit to eat and drink, and I’ve managed to force it down, though the others are having more trouble and Tirondel stubbornly refuses to. Then he grabs a doorknob or pulls on a drawer and falls over, unconscious. I swear, I will never understand him.
Day 2: I decided to start sawing on this bed post. It’s slow work.
Day 3: Nobody knows what to do. I suppose we are like the animals my father and I used to keep on our ranch, just biding their time until they are killed. It must suck to be them.
Day 4: We were forced to go work today, cleaning up some wreckage that the Scourge caused. I looked around for things, but couldn’t find anything. I found some bread and ate a bit, but it disappeared very quickly. I’m not the only one forced to do such desperate things just to stay alive, I suppose.
Day 5: Another slave’s been killed for keeping something. He was sucked dry by a giant monster. I won’t let that happen to me.
Day 6: The others seem to have lost all hope, but I’m still sawing at the bed post. What is Tirondel doing?
Day 7: I may die here.
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Epic × 2!
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