To the Temple of Ioun
In which our heroes follow a gnoll tribe's trail to the Temple of Ioun
  • Alhambra has been badly bitten by the drake, but he’ll live. Apparently there was a woman in dark blue robes questioning him throughout the night – until she realized that he was not Rilan, the bard that had followed the party to Neireth. They had been searching for the “bard”, and more importantly the Relic he carried. She repeatedly asked for the “Eye”, and given the Sphere’s shape in Alhambra’s saddle bag, the confusion becomes clear. When she finally took the Sphere from the bag, she spit in disgust. “Tarsin trash!” and throws the bag to the ground.
  • The elven scouts saw the party coming, and when they alerted the woman, she disappeared after barking orders to kill them.
  • The fighter Lenk subdued seems amused to have been kept alive. He is a member of the dangerous sect of Dragon worshippers from the Ky’fal Mountains known as the Drakengard. They had chased the thief from Ky’fal, through Perembor, for the past year. They lost him for a good month in Ungolliath, where he had begun entertaining the dwarven tin ears as a Bard, of all things. “Rilan” had stolen a precious artifact from the Temple of Tiamat, and they would not stop until it had been retrieved.
  • The man does not say his name, nor does he reveal any further details on the Eye, his sect, or his people. He even stops short of describing the thief in any great detail, fearing that he has said too much, and since they are Tarsin treasure hunters the Eye is clearly not safe in their presence.
  • The party shows mercy on him, and he offers to tell his kinsmen about them, should they encounter any more of his sect on their journeys.
  • The party then decides to take a look into the gnolls that have been harassing the villagers of Neireth. When they get to the caves, however, they realize that the gnolls have left sometime last night. It appears to be an organized move, and the pack left quite a trail north, towards the Temple of Ioun.
  • As the Temple comes into view to the north, the edge of the Great Scar looming in the near distance, it’s clear that the earthquake struck hard. A crack in the earth stretches from the Scar through the Temple foundation, causing the rear of the Temple to lean in on itself.
  • From the safety of the tree line, Laeryth and Firrian can easily make out the glowing eyes of gnolls in the forest on the far north of the Temple. Using dusk and a few natural rock formations, the two of them sneak their way to the base of the Temple stairs. Two gnolls stand guard at the top of the high stair case.
  • With a quick signal to the others to charge, Firrian surprises a guard with a quick throw of his dagger. Laeryth charges the second guard, and before the other three party members can make it to the Temple, the two archers are backpedaling into the Temple.
  • Chasing the gnolls past a Pool, and up more stairs, more gnoll archers spring from hiding behind pillars. They too give way, and start running farther back up more stairs into the main chamber of the Temple.
  • At the far side of the main Temple, a gnoll priest stands over the body of a Priestess of Ioun. His hands covered with gore, he is actively marking the walls, floor, and altars of Ioun with strange markings and symbols. Two large gnolls stand guard, spears at the ready, and when they see the party chasing the archers, they charge. The priest pulls a small onyx figurine from a pouch at its belt, and uses it to summon a Mastiff to his side.
  • Soon, Lenk is surrounded, and the gnoll spears cut him down. They turn their attention towards Alhambra, who brashly charged in with the half-orc. Khalsig rushes in to heal Lenk, and just in time. The Gnoll Priest summons dark magic, cursing the half-elf and searing his flesh. With a scream of agony, the bard hits the stone floor.
  • Firrian and Laeryth continue to harass the gnolls with quick slashing attacks, and the Gnolls turn to Laeryth. Firrian and Khalsig finish off the last archer, and Lenk shakes off his brush with death. The priest begins chanting another curse, and sends his Mastiff guard in to the fray.
  • The gnolls take Laeryth down, but as they begin whooping in victory, Firrian and Lenk swarm them. One spear-wielder goes down, and the second begins to struggle. The priest lets out a large howl.
  • Khalsig gets Alhambra and Laeryth back on their feet, and the Priest quickly falls. A pack of small gnolls run into the temple, carrying a deer and several rabbits. When they see the party, they charge, and are quickly dispatched.
  • Firrian takes the onyx idol from the Priest, and the party turns their attention to the chasm behind the altars. Looking out over the Great Scar, the party decides to rest for the night. Gnolls can be seen in the trees outside the temple, but they keep their distance. When Lenk and Laeryth step out of the temple, they backpedal through the woods and rattle their spears. They decide to investigate the chasm – if the gnolls cause trouble when they leave, they’ll deal with it then.
  • With day light upon them, they can see into the chasm. 200 feet down, they can see what appears to be masonry and stone buried deep beneath the earth. Alhambra rushes forward, sliding down one of the ropes attached to the altar. Lenk and Laeryth follow.
  • The group finds themselves in a small room. A door to the south has been recently boarded shut. To the north, they can hear nothing behind the door. They can hear gnolls arguing about their missing dinner to the east, and decide to charge. Lenk barrels through the door, and sees gnolls taking cover behind a pile of logs they’ve setup as a makeshift barrier.
The Road West
In which our heroes head west towards Neirith with the Tarsin Militia
  • The team finished off the Wererats, and in the process discovered that a clan of dwarves had magically poisoned the dwarves with lycanthropy.

Dear friends of the Dorgeddin Clan.

Your lack of support during our troubles with the authorities in Jestril, while unfortunate, does not need to end generations of good will between our clans.

On a recent excursion into the Halls of Galladur, a scouting party discovered a cask of this brandy, drunk by our forefathers, and now aged to perfection.

We trust that this gift will insure your continued discretion.

- G.

Khalsig has a name now, the Dorgeddin Clan, to look out for when you inevitable make your way to the Halls of Ungolliath. Most of the party had a nasty case of Filth Fever by the end of it, and were forced to barter their reward of gold pieces for components to give a priest of Moradin to perform a Cure Disease ritual on them.

  • Before leaving town, Merus, the young Magister on the Council, warned the party that he knew of the Sphere Artifact in their possession, and gave them a special cloth to wrap it in that would keep it hidden from Magister rituals. He also passed down some knowledge on how to use it – once inside the Sphere, striking the floating orb will cause the Artifact to explode violently.
  • The bard Rilan tagged along with the party as they rode west toward the village of Neireth. He’s a jackass, fawning over the party. He is particularly fond of Alhambra, for obvious reasons, as he is an absolutely horrid lute player, and noticeably tone def.
  • The presence of the militia regiment made for a quiet ride west. The regiment of Tarsin Militia men had been diminished over the course of the three day journey, as a squad would stay in a village that was dealing with the rash of monster sightings that have been plaguing the realm since the quake. Only 50 soldiers remain camped outside Neireth when the party enters the village to grab a nights rest at the inn where Rilan was headed.
  • Inside, the bard’s Uncle behind the bar seems exasperated to see him. Both Rilan and Alhambra agree to perform for the villagers for their room and board, and Rilan is so awful that Alhambra eventually waved him off the stage, taking over the show and winning back the crowd. The night wore down and the party headed for their beds.
  • When they woke, Alhambra was missing. Rilan’s uncle hadn’t seen the half-elf leave, but Rilan had woken normally and left to practice on his lute in the Neireth woods. In Alhambra’s room, the bag containing the Sphere was missing, but the rest of his gear was left behind. This included the Map, which the party used to scout the area. In a glade six miles northwest of the village, signs of life, and tracks from the town seemed to be heading in that direction.
  • When they reach the glade after a half days hike through the forest, they seem to be expected, as Laeryth spots archers in the trees, and several fighters lurking in tents in the camp site. The men seem to be wearing black-stained leather armor, with strange dark blue cloth wrapped around their heads and shoulders.
  • Closing on the camp, the archers begin firing arrows immediately, and the Lenk closes the gap with a charge into the nearest fighter. These enemies seemed skilled compared to previous opponents, as the archers fought to keep distance between themselves and the party, spreading out into the far trees and taking shots and the closest ally. Lenk struggled to keep the fighters’ attention, while Firrian and Laeryth were forced to scurry around the glade, keeping the archers from puncturing Khalsig’s hide with arrows.
  • When the battle seemed to be in hand, the group began to hear what could only be Alhambra trying to yell through a gag. Obviously restrained and quite pissed off, Laeryth turned to investigate, but was surprised by a small black drake bursting through the tree line. It hovered towards him, a strange black collar around its neck.
  • Before his allies could jump in to assist him, the drake latches on to Laeryth with his claws and fangs, and his beating wings stun the elf. Khalsig rushes in with a Healing Word, and Firrian slashes at the drake until it lets go, finally hitting the ground as its slashed up wings can no longer sustain its flight. A quick slash from Laeryth and the beast is felled.
Outline - A Triumphant Return Home
In which our heroes return to Jestril with Bann
  • The party leaves the temple, after turning the Moon to the “New Moon” state, casting a pall of darkness over the Apse.
  • The humans from Corwald seem to have begun recovering after the defeat of Agnoth, and they join the party on the journey back to Jestril. The villagers of Corwald seem deeply relieved to have their fellows returned safely.
  • New trouble seems to have been stirred up in the group’s absence. A major earthquake has shaken the north of Tarsis, and many western villages and even Jestril itself have suffered damage from the catastrophe.
  • To make matters worse, two weeks have somehow passed in the two days since the party left Corwald, though the party takes this is stride.
  • Two hard days of riding and the party is just outside the Free Quarter. Wishing to keep the Teleport Sphere hidden from the council, at least for the moment, they bury it in the woods east of the City, using the new Map to mark the location. They circle the city and head to the Orcish Tavern in the Western Free Quarter.
  • Osst and Ossa are busy cleaning out the place. When questions about it, they are quick to tell Lenk that an army has risen under the banner of a new Orcish Warlord in the Eastern Wastes, marching west, and being a half-orc has become more difficult as a result. They’re going to head home, back to the Northern Steppes.
  • The party heads into the city, making their way to the Horn of Valir. There are signs that the place is a bit more lived in than when they left it, but before they can figure that out, Merus from the Jestril Council rides up to the inn. A royal guardsman with him takes Bann and the Tiefling into custody, and Merus takes the party to the Council Tower. Merus on Agnoth:

We’ve been able to glean little from the Library on Agnoth. If the name appears in any historical tome on Demons and their ilk, it is not within our walls. The best we’ve found is a few tales of a creature that sounds similar to what you described terrorizing the Druids of the Iron Oak Forest in the centuries after the War.

  • The Council is in a war session, as King Agannon himself has led the Tarsin Militia north through the Ungolliath Mountain pass to meet the Orcish Horde. Word from a member of the Grey came in the form of a hastily scratched letter, describing a Warlord wielding a wicked sword wreathed in flame. Always behind him, a dark figure, hunched under dark robes, bearing the symbol of an Eye.
  • The party have a choice, to ride north and assist the King, or ride west, to check the Temple of Ioun, from where no word has been received since the earthquake. They choose to ride west.
  • When they return to the Horn of Valir, an elderly gentleman is waiting for them.

A middle aged man in livery enters the main hall from the kitchen with a suckling pig on a tray. A pitcher of cold water and clean mugs have already been placed upon the table. ‘Greetings, gentleman. I am Tivolo, and it has been my job in the past, and apparently the future, to assist in managing the affairs of the Grey. You’ve a few things to attend to this morning, guests, petitioners, what have you. They are waiting as patiently as they can muster out front.’ Peering out the front windows, you can see a small handful of folks milling about in the road in front of the Horn. Their presence seems to have drawn the attention of curious on-lookers, and the crowd is swelling. Tivolo smirks, ‘The sooner you deal with this the better I’m afraid.’

  • A woman seeking a treasure that was stolen from her family, a dwarf seeking help in the Dwarven District now that most of the people there, fearing war with the Orcs, have fled back to Ungolliath, and a Bard seeking to travel west when the party are outside the Horn seeking council with the party.
  • They choose to help the Dwarves first, and head to the Dwarven District. On the way, Yerok explains that a family of merchants have not left their store for days, and the remaining folk are starting to get anxious about the food stores contained inside. The party gets the store, and cautiously peeks into the front door.
  • Inside the store, a young dwarvish woman lies on the floor, bleeding from scratches on her back and stomach. Khalsig attends the wounds, and the party heads to a door in the back. Charging the store room, the party comes upon a pack of wererats, and a fight breaks out.
Outline - Agnoth and the Abyss
In which our heroes once again face Agnoth
  • The party leaves the Teleport Sphere. The enormous cavern appears to be the inside of a sphere, itself, the walls constructed of the same dark stone as the Teleport artifact. One hundred feet up in the air, a dark orb floats, and several of Agnoth’s tentacles descend from the darkness, wrapping around the orb and trying to crush it. At the far side of the Sphere, Agnoth has seemingly crashed through the Sphere, and while there is no trace of the dark stone fragments that must have been part of the broken sphere wall, large hunks of earth have poured into the sphere where Agnoth’s huge mounds of purple flesh appear.
  • As Agnoth holds Bann and his Tiefling companion aloft, it beckons the party forward, and soon a ferocious battle commences. Agnoth fights on two fronts, attempting to wrest the Cube artifact from Khalsig, and desperately trying to game Domination over Lenk.
  • Eventually it succeeds, in spite of the furious slashing, stabbing, and burning from the heroes. Pulling Khalsig high into the air, it shakes the Cube from his grasp, and in that instant the world seems to spin. When their bearings return, the air is think with a noxious red mist. Where the earth of the Feywild was just a moment ago, a dark red sky, crimson clouds ripped with electicity, stretches as far as the eye can see. Pieces of dark stone from the broken Sphere wall, conspicuously absent in the Fey, seem to be floating everywhere around the players. High above them, the tentacles squeeze the orb with renewed energy.
  • The party, choking on the think miasma, struggle to crawl over the beast towards the Cube. Hacking on the tentacle succeeds, and as the last bit of flesh is severed, the Cube falls to the ground.
  • Firrian dives on the Cube, but in the instant before he opens a Corridor back to the Feywild, Agnoth succeeds in crushing the Orb in the center of the giant sphere. The shockwave knocks them all to the ground, but back in the relative safety of the Fey, the horrible miasma of the Abyss is gone.
  • The party turns back towards Agnoth with renewed vigor. In a last desperate attempt at taking Lenk, the creatures swarms the half-orc with tentacles, and when Lenk is set free he charges Alhambra! The others fight quickl, unleashing their strongest powers, until Agnoth gives forth a horrible death scream, and his fleshy body sags down to the earth. Lenk shakes his head, and is once again himself.
  • Grabbing the limp forms of Bann and the Tiefling, they notice that they are not dead. Their skin is grey and their eyes sunken, but they are not without hope.
  • The party notices the remains of an old adventuring party that seems to have died fighting each other. On one of the corpses, they find a scroll case, and within that a magical Map that allows it’s user to create an overland map of their surroundings.
  • Returning to the Teleport sphere, the Spirits from the Temple beckon them to enter, and when they have the sphere begins to rise back up into the Temple proper.
Outline - The Temple of Sehanine
In which our heroes explore a lost Temple of Sehanine in the Feydark

You place the disk in the large iron door. A quick flash of silver light and a wisp of metallic smoke, and the metal is fused together. The sound of large metallic gears, weary from lack of use, cracks in the stone beneath your feet, and the door slowly raises into the moonlit rock above. As the dust settles, you can see what appears to be a church Nave proceeding into the main Rotunda. Lines of stone pews sit at angles to the main walkway, and in the Apse at the far southern end of the Hall of Worship, a raised dais, carved from dark stone.

Occasionally you spot wisps of smoke through the moonlight, apparitions that appears to be elven or eladrin in shape. They seem to be milling about a small dark circle in the floor near the altar. The telltale smudges of black soot mar the stone around the hole, and the spirits seem agitated. While they seem to be speaking to one another, you can not decipher their speech nor do they react when spoken to. It appears your presence has gone unnoticed.

On the ceiling, in the Northeast corner of the room, is what appears to be an image of a crescent moon. Majestic frescoes cover the circumference of the room, displaying Sehanine in various states of triumph and despair.

To the South, an elf maiden cloaked in moonbeam wields a staff of light against a titanic demon, a large myconid on elephantine legs, the red miasma of the Abyss pouring from its mouth, an army of demons at its feet. At the head of the elves’ staff, a moon in Full glow casts silvery fire into the mist, driving back the demonic horde. Behind Sehanine, an elven figure in armor of light steps away, an appearance of sadness on his face.

To the West, above the entranceway to a small chamber, Sehanine’s moonbeam garment has taken the form of silver plate mail, and in her right hand a sword of light stands raised against a sky of red. A faerie drake of many colors sits perched upon her right shoulder, the moon in half darkness shines above her left.

Beneath her right hand, an army of Eladrin warriors, hammers held behind shields of silver, march at her behest. The lead warrior, an ancient Eladrin whose purple eyes seem alive in the moonlight, holds forth a silver chalice. In the room, on the floor before him stands a pillar, four feet high.

To her left, a dozen elven bladewarriors drift through the trees of the forest of Quelthalin. The elven captain kneels before his Goddess, arms outstreched above him, blade resting across his palms. In front of him, another pillar.

To the North, surrounding the Nave hallway, a fresco depicts a great eladrin city, engulfed by the Feydark. The same elf maiden stands between the darkness and the wonders of Aelthelas, golden in the morning sun. In her hand, a New Moon, wreathed with a halo of sunlight. In her face, a grim determination, the choice has been made.

To the East, above the entranceway to another small chamber, Sehanine stands in a Mortal forest, head held low, back turned. A single raised finger points at a half-lit moon, and above her left shoulder a glimmering faerie dragon takes flight.

To her right, a coven of Human and Elven druids pleads with their goddess to stay. The Elven Hierophant offers his hand to the goddess, while in his left hand he holds a curved dagger behind his back. A pillar rises from the stone floor in front of the Hierophant.

To her left, a single Eladrin Invoker floats in trance, hands raised in an incantation. In the room before him, a stone pillar stands before his outstretched hands.

  • Laeryth knows the leader of the Elven Bladewarrior as the founder of his order of Avengers.
  • The group finds two large wheels, in small chambers on either side of the temple Apse. Turning them moves the Moon around the ceiling, and the light changes to echo that of the state of the moon. When in a New Moon state, the room is dark, and the hallway north is pitch black.
  • They decide to see if changing the Moon has any impact on the circle in the floor of the Library, so they split up. Lenk heads to the Library to keep an eye on the floor, and the Alhambra and Firrian rotate the wheels. Lenk notices right away, that the movement of the wheels seems to rotate the symbol.
  • As they continue to rotate the wheels, the spirits in the chamber begin to grow agitated, and soon they become corporeal, attacking Khalsig in the center of the chamber. Lenk and Laeryth rush into the room, and the spirits soon retreat.
  • In time, the party finds that the symbol on the Library floor, when rotated to the New Crescent state, has a latch which allows the plate to slide into the floor. The party descends down into a tunnel, at the end of which lies a small room.

Descending the ladder reveals a small chamber carved from the earth. An aged wooden table, worn from use in its previous life, sits against the far wall. A single chair is the final resting place of a priest, now a skeleton. Faded robes, brittle to the touch, adorn the body. A clawed right hand sits clenched around the pommel of a war hammer, the left hand sits atop the table, appearing to have fallen from the stem of a silver goblet. A leather bound book lays open, a quill and a dried out ink well near at hand, the writings inside seemingly those of a mad man.

Most of the writing is indecipherable, the words strung together in a mish mash of languages, an obvious stream of consciousness from a man bereft of reason. Interspersed within, however, are sections that spring to life with coherent thought.

  • Firrian grabs the goblet and urges the party to follow him back to the Temple Apse. Placing the goblet on the pillar in front of the Warrior, he beckons Lenk and Alhambra to rotate the Moon to sit overhead. When the moonbeam touches the goblet, it disappears in a flash, yet about the pillar remains a bright glow.
  • Laeryth places his fullblade upon the pillar in front the Elven Bladewarrior, and it too vanishes when the light is placed upon it.
  • Alhambra places a dagger upon the Druid’s pillar, and after placing the moonbeam there all that remains is the Invoker. Khalsig grabs the Cube artifact and places it upon the pillar, and when that vanishes the ground rumbles as the sounds of large gears grinding together shakes the foundation of the Temple.
  • From the Eastern and Western frescoes, the Moon above Sehanine’s hand begins to emerge from the wall. Hitting the ground with a loud clang are two halves of a dark stone sphere. When placed together, they fuse in a flash of silvery light.
  • It is at this point that more spirits appear in the chamber. A warrior spirit hands the silver goblet to Lenk, and inside are magical bracers. A druid spirit offers the dagger to Firrian. A robed spirit hands the Cube artifact to Khalsig. And an elven bladewarrior hands Laeryth his fullblade.
  • Laeryth places the sphere upon the alter, and when the Moon is rotated, and the beam touches it, the Sphere begins to radiate magical power. Using the ritual found in Tentelyn’s writings, they are able to activate the Artifacts magic, and teleport themselves inside. Once there, they can see the outside world through a small orb that floats before them. The spirits in the chamber begin to chant, and a hole opens in the alter under the Sphere.
  • The Sphere seems to descend for quite some time, until a faint light appears beneath them. The sphere comes to rest and on the very far end of an enourmous cavern, the can see the form of Agnoth holding Bann and his Tiefling companion aloft in two giant tentacles.
Outline - Into the Feydark
In which our heroes discover a crossing to the Feydark and a lost Temple
  • Following the Tiefling into the Iron Oak Forest, Firrian begins to sense the Feywild, and soon knows that he could easily open a crossing to his home plane.
  • The party comes across a strange sight. Sitting on the ground is a cube of dark stone, with veins of silvery light pulsing with power. The cube, over a foot in width, seems to have been left here, as no other creatures are near by.
  • Firrian, standing next to the cube, senses the Feywild so strongly that he knows he could open a border if he were so inclined. Instead, he steps back into the woods and crosses over alone to scout.
  • He enters the Fey to a sight he has only read about as a child – the Feydark has consumed the Fey as far as the eye can see.
  • A Temple, crowned with an enormous stone Crescent Moon, stands to the east. The Iron Oak Forest has been replaced with gigantic multicolored fungus and pitch black vines, as wide around as an ancient oak tree, have overtaken the Temple walls.
  • At the Temple steps, the Cube remains. Laying in a pool of blood beside it is a gnome, crossbow bolt lodged in one eye socket. Firrian heads back to the Material Plane and opens a Crossing for the others.
  • The party enters the Temple. An altar on the far side has been toppled, exposing a spiral staircase of stone that descends down into darkness. The party cracks a sunrod and descends.
  • A strange underground chamber awaits them. In the ceiling, veins of silver seem to glow with a dim moonlight. The bio-luminescent fungus seems to have found a way to thrive here.
  • To the south of the chamber, a large stone door with no discernible means of opening. Carved into the stone is a forest, and from within a female form which appears to be Sehanine rises. Her left arm outstretched, palm open, and above it an open space in the stone, circular in shape.
  • Exploring the halls east of the chamber, the party finds a locked chamber, an obstacle Firrian easily overcomes. The room appears to have been a bedroom, and seems well-preserved. Laeryth rushes to a large book on a nightstand, and before Firrian can check the book for traps, Explosive Runes ignite, singing the elf’s cloak and turning the book to cinders.
  • Across from the bed chamber, a Library. In the center of the floor, a circular stone pattern sits an inch below floor level. A slight draft can be felt, but no means of moving the stone can be found.
  • Further along the hallway, a bend southward, and the party comes upon an old sleeping chamber, probably for the priests who used to worship at the Temple. At the far end, a chest. Laeryth rushes in again, and as soon as he touches the latch on the chest a beam of moonlight shoots from the ceiling, knocking the elf prone. Inside the chest, a circular stone, a quarter inch thick, engraved to mimic the surface of the moon.
  • A rumbling can be heard, and from the first chamber, a horde of Myconid forms lumber down the hallway from their resting place. It’s a cramped battle, but Lenk and Firrian manage to squeeze into flanking positions by the bed chamber. Surviving a few clouds of toxic spores from the Myconids was the worst of it.
Outline - The Jestril Council
In which our heroes meet the Council under inauspicious circumstances
  • Due to Jonn’s assault on the Scholar’s Quarter, the party is taken into custody.
  • While waiting overnight in a Magister prison, Kassavin Willana, leader of The Watch, appears and talks to them.
  • The party is taken into a chamber where the Magisters perform a ritual to discern truth telling, and the party are acquitted of any wrong doing.
  • When taken to the top of the Council Tower, they meet Thorvald, head of the Jestril Merchant’s Guild, and member of the Council. He asks them to investigate a new artifact that their rituals have uncovered, and bring back Bann dead or alive in the process. Details of the Adventurer’s Contract with the city are detailed – 1000 gold coins for the successful return of a Tarsis artifact. Any items found by the party during their missions are theirs to keep.
  • With fresh horses, they begin a hard ride East, stopping in the village of Corwald. The people there are a bit troubled – apparently Bann and his crew stirred up trouble, murdered the owner of the General Store, and tricked four of the towns only guards into following him.
  • The party pursues South into the Iron Oak Forest. After navigating through the dense wood, they come upon a pack of goblins desecrating an old sanctuary of the goddess Malora.
  • The goblin leader uses his army of rats to torment the players when they attempt to stop him, but eventually they overpower the goblins and pick up a healthy distrust of rats in the process.
  • Following the trail south east, they spot a rickety rope bridge built over a chasm next to a waterfall. On the far side, they barely make out the form of a Tiefling slipping off into the wood.
The Orcish Tankard

Before reaching quarters, a disgruntled Jonn freezes for a moment in the middle of the street. The other party members look at each other with a mix of concern and “what now?”. Suddenly, Jonn remembers that he’s got a score to settle – mumbling something under his breath about his “stone-chewing uncle” he shoves his way past Lenk and Laeryth and stomps off alone toward the Merchant’s Quarter. Nonplussed, yet unconcerned, the remaining party members continue on to The Horn of Valir.

The road-weary party takes just a few moments to throw their gear into the quarters provided to them by the Council. As they reconvene in the meeting hall, however, they find that they indeed were not lied to – the bar is not presently stocked. Lenk mentions that nearby, in the Merchant Quarter, is The Orcish Tankard, run by twin half-orcs Osst and Ossa. With their minds on mead and ale, the four head off.

The Tankard is, indeed, a foul place, but that hardly separates it from the rest of the establishments in the Free Quarter. Above the bar is a wooden sign, with words carved in Common with a sharp blade, “No Murdurs”. The ground is covered in week old sawdust and straw, and the blood stains look fresh. You take seats at an available table in the center of the room, the corners are dark and filled with cloaked men glaring over their flagons of mead. The air is dense with pipe smoke.

Against the north wall, a half-elven bard strums a lute and sings a limerick, which has those patrons actually listening chuckling a bit. One drunkard, however, doesn’t find it so funny. “Hey, that’s my lady yer singin bout!” He lurches towards the bard, long sword in hand. That’s all the Tankard’s regulars need, and the tell-tale sign of wood chairs screeching across the floor accompanies blades leaving scabbards. The room quickly turns chaotic, with most patrons trying to get to the doors. The bard has been caught slightly off-guard and backs further into the corner as he readies a sword.

The party, still weary from travel (and a bit full of ale) are a bit slow to react. The mob is a bit confusing, but it becomes clear that the cloaked men in the corners are not moving to leave – they are arming themselves to fight, with an eye toward the party in the middle of the room. Suddenly, Khalsig flinches backward as a javelin from behind him nicks his collar, sails directly between Lenk and Laeryth and clatters harmlessly into the wall.

The tavern remains completely bare of patrons now; with nearly a dozen combatants at the ready no one felt sure of their safety inside. A few faces peer through the windows and the twins take up positions behind the bar, arms crossed and looking displeased.

The opening moments of the fight progress fairly slowly – it’s as if everyone is a bit uncomfortable fighting in such an enclosed area. Javelins fly from each of the corners, many finding their mark and puncturing our heros. The Bard moves toward the center, declaring himself an enemy of the Black Cloaks (and hoping that means a friend of the Lenk et al).

Leaving behind their javelin-throwing partners, a group of swordsmen have converged around Khalsig and Lenk. Laeryth and Firrian have sped to a corner of the tavern, near the bar, and are laying into an attacker that had been left behind.

The Bard proves his worth soon into the fight as his songs of healing and focus help the group through some early punishment at the hands of the Black Cloaks. Before the fight is over, in fact, it becomes clear that the party would not have survived without Khalsig and the Bard working together to keep the party standing.

For the first few moments, the momentum in the fight ebbs and wanes for the party, though they do seem to be getting the worst of it. Ossa and Osst still look concerned but have made no move to help yet. Osst does glance up to ensure that his great axe is still hanging over the bar at the ready, in case he needs it.

Suddenly, a series of well-placed and well-timed hits from Lenk fell his nearest opponent, the cloaked-man’s sword clattering to the floor from his bloodied hand. A cheer erupts from the behind the bar; Osst draws a flagon of ale for himself and Ossa to enjoy during the rest of the match.

Laeryth and Firrian turn out to be a formidible pair, flying from corner to corner of the tavern dispatching most of the outside attackers before they can rejoin their group in the middle. Laeryth and Firrian help surround and take down the seventh and final cloaked adversary at the center of the room with the rest of the party.

Laeryth deals the final blow, the hilt of his sword driven into the man’s temple, knocking him down and unconscious. After a quick look around, it seems there are no more attackers. A raucous cheer from Ossa and Osst erups again, and the party turns to see fresh flagons of ale waiting for them on the bar. The Bard bows humbly, Lenk heaves the unconscious one over his shoulder as the group makes its way to the bar.

However, Laeryth and Khalsig have noticed something wrong with their prisoner – foam is dripping from his mouth, and his eyes appear glazed over. The flagons are moved out of the way and Lenk unceremoniously drops the body on the bar. Khalsig attempts to stabilize the foe, but it is too late – the poison has done its work; there will be no questioning of the Black Cloaks this evening.

To Jestril
In which our heroes make their way to the glorious capital city

With the abomination defeated, the party heads back to the surface. True to his word, Jonn summons a thunderous wave of magic, and collapses the stone cave entrance. Laeryth carves a quick elven word of warning into the stone.

After a half days ride, the fellows see the walls of Cartha. Guards keeping watch race down the tower stairs, and by the time the gates are reached, the Curator Orson stands waiting. Lenk nods at the elderly man, who turns and heads towards the museum.

Once inside, he asks to see the Artifact, and Laeryth presents it to him.

“Most excellent. You have my thanks, and the thanks of Lord Bryce.” From a chest on the floor, he tosses each adventurer a bag filled with gold coins. “I trust you’ll find that a generous reward for your efforts. But here’s the true prize.” From a fold in his robes he produces a stack of letters, sealed with blue wax, and hands one to each of them. “Present these at the gates of Jestril. You’ve earned the right to claim the Grey; make your living in the realm as adventurers.”

“We need to leave now. Fresh horses.”

“Ah yes … Bann. I suppose that could be arranged.”

“First, I have questions, if you don’t mind.” Lenk glances around the room, asking the others to clear out. Firrian lingers anyway, so Lenk takes Orson down a hallway. When they return, Lenk has a concerned look but says nothing.

Khalsig steps inside to ask another question. “Curator, is there a name you could give us? Someone in Jestril to speak to once we’ve arrived. An ally.”

“I’m afraid I left Jestril with very few friends intact. I’m the Curator of a Museum of Dead Artifacts, if that answers your question.”

The party heads to the temple of Avandra. Laeryth takes the remains of the young priest from his horse and walks them inside.

The high priest kneels at an altar on the far side of the church, deep in prayer, but he hears the adventurers approach and rises to greet them.

“Ah yes, this is young Clement. He had become foolhardy, spening his time with a young mage from Jestril. Thank you for returning him to us.”

The priest turns to the dwarf cleric. “It does my heart good to see a follower of the Raven Queen serve his Goddess well. You may have noticed that your kind receives a cold welcome among the men of Tarsis? Seek Saltmarsh, along the eastern coast of the Lake of Moons, if you’d seek answers.” Reaching into a pouch at his belt, he pulls forth a small silver disk. “I’d hoped to give this to Clement upon his return. Perhaps you should have it.” He hands the disk to the Dwarf, takes the cloak-wrapped remains, and turns from the party. “If you’ll excuse me?”

The party readies their new horses and rides from Cartha. After riding through the night and most of the next day, they find a road side tavern to stay for the night. No one there has seen anyone matching Bann’s description, not to mention his Tiefling ally, but the ale is cold and the beds plentiful.

Halfway through a day’s ride to Jestril, the party comes upon the signs of a struggle in the dusty road. Horse tracks have trampled around a patch of ground, and several humanoid footprints surround it. Recent drops of blood are scattered on the road, and the trail leads off to the north.

Following the trail leads to a clearing in the forest. In the center, a horse and its rider lay in the tall grass. Laeryth spies a goblin on the far side of the clearing, leaning around a wide oak tree with a crossbow at the ready. He and Firrian quietly circle around, but halfway to the hiding goblin, the creature hears them. Crossbow bolts whiz through the trees, and the party charges the shooters, now two goblins behind the tree.

Once Jonn is in the clearing, however, a handful of goblins charge, slicing at him with short swords and whooping in goblin tongue. Lenk charges the goblin crossbowmen, skewering one with his sword. Khalsig falls in behind the big half-orc, and soon the party is in a heated battle with the goblins. Which, of course, is when the Hobgoblin slinking in the far woods decided to charge at the parties flank.

The hobgoblin lands a blow to Lenk’s shoulder with his mace, but Khalsig is quick with a Healing Word. Jonn finds himself surrounded, but Firrian and Laeryth weave through the clearing, slashing at goblins until the party can turn their attention to the Hobgoblin, who doesn’t last long. Lenk clips the beast at the temple with the broad side of his longsword.

As luck would have it, Bann was responsible for the death of the messenger after all. Coming upon the hungry band of goblins, Bann offered to spare their lives if they’d watch the road and assault any riders moving at speed. They tied up the hobgoblin and got back on the road.

In Jestril, the party makes their way through the Free Quarter, the outer circle of the city, built by commoners who pay taxes to the Council for the right to live and work in the city. At the gates, the guards eye the party with a fair amount of skepticism, but the sight of the letters from Cartha is enough to get them an escort into the Merchant Quarter, the outermost ring of Jestril within the cities’ walls. The guards take the hobgoblin off their hands, assuring the party that the creature will be dealt with.

A man in livery exists the gate tower, and leads the group to The Horn of Valir, the tavern in the Merchant Quarter where members of the Grey take up residence while in the city. The cupboards are bare, but the place has the looks of a fine base of operations.

Work in Progress - Into the Kobold Cave, Part II
In which our heroes continue their investigation of the seemingly-corrupted kobold caverns

This was not a sight for the faint of heart. At the center of the large room, a pit opened into darkness. Streams of fresh blood ran from several kobold corpses on either side of the cavern into the hole, and on the far side several of the strange creatures looked up from their carnage at the elven intruder.

Several of the small fleshy kobold-like creatures they fought in Cartha charged, stabbing and clawing at Laeryth, bloodying the elf and forcing him back into the passageway. Jonn, wielding his new Staff of Winds, cast a Thunderwave at their feet, hurling them backwards as they vanished in a burst of sound.

Firrian runs into the cavern, but is quickly engulfed in wiry tentacles of shadow that spring from the floor. A quick shuriken at the mage draws dark blood. Jonn is grabbed as well, and the horrible creature with the kobold mask lets out a guttural scream. Lenk charged the beast, stabbing it with his longsword. Khalsig patches up the elf, enters the room, and readies a Divine Strike.

The clash is a perilous one. The human-sized brute swings his axe in wide arcs, cutting up every creature careless enough to get close to it. Lenk and Laeryth spar with it while the others take care of the mages – Firrian’s Positioning Strike runs through a mage and hurls it into the hole in the cavern floor as he turns to face the brute. Even with the full attention of the party, the creature stood its ground, but in the end the bloodied and battered adventurers won out. Lenk had a kill shot, but instead clubbed the creature over the head with the hilt of his blade.

Needing rest, the party tied up their foe and drug him to the woods outside the cave.

Jonn took the first watch, and it did not take long for trouble to present itself – Frank, Jim, and a few other kobolds returned to the cave. Jonn quickly awoke the party, and Lenk was able to act quickly to stop the kobolds from wake the creature with thrown rocks.

The poor creatures sought to reclaim their home, but the party was quick to dissuade them. Searching for the tracks of the kobold leader, Lenk discovers none. They must have been taken by the shadow creatures while they fought the cube. Wishing the kobolds to leave, he tells them that the chieftain’s tracks head northwest, and the kobolds scurry off in that direction, but not before a kobold runt picked up a stone and hurled it into the creatures head.

Lenk put a blade to the creatures throat. “What is your name?”

It began to stir. “Agnoth will kill you all!”

“Who is Agnoth?”

“Agnoth will feast on your bones and make skin from your flesh!”

Again. “Who is Agnoth?”

“I am Agnoth!”

The party was doubtful, and the conversation was going nowhere, but they had information at least. A name. Lenk cut the creatures throat, and the party took their rest.

Somewhere amidst the fireworks display the monstrosity awoke from its slumber. Rolls of purple flesh lifted upwards, revealing a ring of gaping mouths, twisted open to reveal dull rows of fanged teeth. Tentacles of morbid hue lined the creatures base and began to uncoil from underneath it, seeming to disappear into the shadow of the rocks around it.

Wasting no time, Lenk charged. The party quickly surrounded the creature, hacking at the mound of flesh while Jonn stayed on the ledge and summoned a Flaming Sphere next to the horror. The creature let forth a scream from its many mouths, dazing the party and giving it a temporary advantage. Tentacles lashed out, grabbing Lenk and Firrian, mouths piercing their backs and burrowing in. Khalsig called down the wrath of the Raven Queen and Laeryth swore enmity upon his foe, and before long the tentacles lost their grasp before any true damage could be dealt.

In the end, the mound of flesh calling itself Agnoth proved no match for the party. The mass began to wilt, sagging towards the ground, the remaining fluid and skin pouring through cracks in the earth. Along with the remains of an arm, fist clenched around a dagger, was a rod of dark stone, veined with glowing silver. It would appear they had found the missing artifact, and could return to Cartha victorious. Lenk felt certain that this was a mere piece of Agnoth, bubbled to the surface. What horrors must lie below the earth? Armed with the knowledge of a name, perhaps they could find more information in Jestril.


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